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Page Descriptions - Chapter 54
This article contains all the Moonless Age page announcements made by the comic's author for Chapter 54 - Unity. 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.
Kern: The crew from the prior chapters united with Chiri and Shan aboard the ship, flying by the city of Felde. I understand this answers the question of what the ship is a bit too early and it wasn't my favorite of the 5 cover concepts (to be shown in the news later), but that answer would've been given on page 1 tomorrow regardless so it's not too much of a problem. Okay, the real problem is that airship is not on fire. But I'd like to point out that Chiri DID push Ariel off the side at least. For ruining her special day. Also Chakri in the foreground, now a main character?! (gasp) Maybe.
Kern: They attempt to form a coalition with their sister colony of Ys. Unsurprisingly they're told to return the stolen ship. Considering Snadhya stole it first, that's going to be interesting next time someone takes it. It will be a circle of stealing. That said, the focus on the swirly eye is just to remind people, after all this time, that this colony is under Felde influence. Plus last time the sarghress were kicked out from their one post in that colony, and told to not return unless they abandon their clan.
Kern: The most satisfying way to declare a war: Flip the table at the end of the negotiations. And yeah compared to the last chapter this one goes straight to the action, it takes only 2 pages for a new war to start! And in case anyone is wondering why Ariel is remembering Kyo departing and the whole airship canon: It's to remind people what happened last time she just said "Okay,you can go away in peace". No more going in peace. Quain'tana would have smashed the table with a fist and probably threw the woman in green out that window.
Kern: The signal is received, and now the former defenders become what was once pursuing them. By besieging the colony with their newly gained allies. The situation is flipped just like the table. If you're wondering why the canon blast seem to go above the fort, it's because that's whats happening. They intentionally missed. Hitting would be bad, Kel and Ariel are right there on top... And this is the first page that shows the beginning of the opposing coalition. For many chapters we've built up the alliance and shown it spreading to this unified Chel with Snad's faction wormed in. Now there is another faction forming up, albeit a very small one for now.
Kern: They came prepared, quickly neutralizing the council and the guards that were listening in outside the room. The twin mountains walked in, praise Slainne's boobs! Smothered by boobs. If it were a different type of comic there would be extra panels about this, but hey.
Kern: The colony's fort is taken over from both sky and earth as they address the captured council's leader. Chigusa blocked the entry from implied reinforcement. The owls are going in from the top. The golems break down the front door. Vaelia frees slaves within. And the empaths, including a certain banana are using the very same tactic as before on the people below. Is it perfect? Probably not, but this isn't the focus of the chapter, so it's a fast pace takeover that focus on people who are actually not fighting. It's quite likely there are many struggles ongoing that'll make it a bloody takeover, especially on the owl's side.
Kern: The pacified colonists watch the silent takeover and the people on deck witness their success. In case there is any confusion, Faen's surprise at being tugged has passed over to some people below. Empathy is the ability to sense and transfer emotions. Likely some got annoyed when Ash felt annoyed at Faen as well.
Kern: The council is made prisoner, an old acquaintance returns, and their eastern allies proceed to a massacre. Tralyn, back from Chapter 2. "Old" because of his travels, well he got one more travel after the whole school system collapsed. And he is up to his old habits of trying to overthrow any system he is in. He made for a convenient face to show that some of the locals were helping with the whole take over preparation. While Slainne expects the next takeover to not be so easy, especially if said next colony is the one right above Chel.
Kern: Ariel pushes for a change of plan while Kyo attempts to join the prisoners to find out what they know. Kyo has been meant to be ambiguously loyal for so many years now. Working for Snadhya, yet giving info to Ariel's squad. The trend will continue until someone gets so pissed off they'll cut her ponytail off. I mean, that's a fate worse than death, right?
Kern: Kyo is trying to help the prisoners to turn the situation around in their favor. Or she's just getting intel. :P These were going to escape regardless.
Kern: She foils their escape and murders the leader of the council. Always the double roles. She did get the intel and reported it. Though she also lied to "her side". Well, both sides. Which one is hers is kind of complicated. She lied to the people outside and inside, likely getting herself in trouble. And whether anyone will believe the intel is yet to be seen. Next time she sings, it won't be so happy lovey-hopey. Time for her to get into goth metal.
Kern: A scout led by wolves tracks her prey to the colony. She's a legion character, so yes, the legion of Sarghress sent to hunt them is coming up.
Kern: She receives an unexpected visitor after the assassination led her to be locked up from the others. He offers her a second chance, as long as he is kept informed on her actions. Couple things there are implied; Kyo is very stressed from what she had to do. That she is uncertain about what she's going to do and for who she is going to have to do it. That Kel wants to make use of her. As long as he knows what it's going to be, he doesn't mind that Ariel doesn't have to know. Implying such things happened before and will happen again. That Ariel's own optimist attitude, or naive if you want to see it from the other angle, is the same reason why she is spared being dumped, killed, exiled, or fed to Slainne. It's quite likely Kel sees some good in Ariel's attitude and plans to use it if he can. Well, if he hadn't, he wouldn't be there supporting this whole "Quain'tana's last wishes" would he. Quain is long dead and he had seen the real person beyond all the legends from before they even started, so this isn't purely out of loyalty for a dead person.
Kern: They ready themselves to depart to another colony now that they've secured their claim. That said, it's one thing to overthrow the council and another to have this as a power base. Anything happens after the ship departs and everything will crumble. That's why Kel tells them to retreat. Remember when the Sarghress had one house in this entire colony? It's basically the same, thing again, they've merely a dozen warriors here again and sure some local ally in the colony is going to fill that power vacuum but that legion hunting them down could just dispatch 3 squads of their own to ruin it all. If they don't just follow the ship, giving time for the locals to finish transitioning the local government. Taldrin and Vaelia are left behind. Tiny Taldrin for governor!
Kern: They continue traveling across the rim of the underworld to seek new allies. And they end at a familiar place where the last chapter ended. Wrapping up the timeline to join back with Chiri/Shan's wedding. If PTP were still ongoing, this would have been a great opportunity for crossover, but it's been so many years the project was wrapped up. Note this page did not receive Thalar's usual proofreading. Its possible grammar issues slipped in a text bubble.
Kern: Having ruined the wedding they receive a much harsher welcome than they expected. Everything was blown apart, people got scared, troops landed. It's no surprise, really. What's surprising is that Chiri hasn't killed them yet.
Kern: Shan's newly-found husband skills save them from being set on fire. We knew we wouldn't be able to catch up on Tuesday, so this canon chibi page was prepared. Maybe the real fire wasn't that big, but her fiery temper is very much so.
Kern: The delegation speaks to the town representative, who assures them that nothing wrong ever happens. Karma can't let those words slide. There's two tidbits about cameos snuck in there. Wa'sila and Nergui are in love, I'd figured they would be interested in that whole notion of union. With the worst priest ever to give them advice. Then there is Tanooen, who is a big fan of Kyo, stalking her around town.
Kern: One of the colonists takes advantage of the presence of the visitors to go settle her score with the people she hates. However, she is not alone once she arrives. Gotta murder the tainted and blame it on the Sarghress, you know. Also, yeah, shit was bound to hit the fan at some point. Here is the start of the shit for this chapter!
Kern: She turns the blade she meant to use to murder the tainted couple to defend them instead. But the wolf won't go down that easily. It's buff, it's big, it's angry. And if it were truly wild, it'd be off. But everyone by now knows it's not.
Kern: By the time they repel the wolf's attack, something much worse is coming over the hill. The whole wolf engagement is far from perfect. Just in case: The wolf charged and she wasn't ready. The blade just went right in the fur, scrapping at it. It took Tir'ade to pull it back and give Eclav a clear stabbing spot into the neck. Now this is a weapon meant to slash things open, but then we have to assume this is a strong woman that was trained as Templar for many years. She'd probably be able to use a sharp rock (rock is op) to cause some serious damage on that wolf's throat.
Kern: Where one wolf fell, the horde follows. They stand no chance to fight so many. And there's likely many more coming right behind. The legion is out to hunt hundreds of their own after all; they came ready.
Kern: The wolves surround the house they've found refuge in, but not for long as they've an entire town in reach. It's that brief moment of relief that they're safe, only to realize that things are only going to get worse if everyone in town gets killed. This means no possible rescue once the death toll rises. And yeah, Eclav would've probably believed the wolves would only kill the tainted, but Tir'ade wouldn't let her die.
Kern: War is coming to the peaceful town. Unsurprisingly, an army follow behind the wolves and the alpha is visible by Sang's side.
Kern: Kel gives the colonists one last chance to form an alliance before they retreat. But his efforts are foiled by his own side as they charge for battle. Of course they'd be eager to go fight and help. The odd thing would be that Ariel stays quiet and accepts the retreat.
Kern: Faen runs ahead of the others to appease the horde of wolves. Or put more simply, Faen wants to tell the wolves: "You the good boi." This page is the start of the smaller pages we're going to have to do. It's actually the exact size pages used to have before I began extending them vertically. Let's see if that allows us to bring back 5 updates a week.
Kern: Faen attempts to appease the wolves, but there are too many. And Ariel recognizes one among them. Chapter 36 Ariel had a baby wolf that she was supposed to get when she become a highland raider. Things got messy soon after she became a raider, and the wolf pup got left behind for 3 years. Whoever is in charge picked all the wolves and made use of them. And yes, Faen affected wolves behind, but this is clearly too much even for her. Especially in a position of stress with already angered wolves in a pack. If it were a single wolf, yeah she would have pacified it.
Kern: Ariel attempts to reach out to her old pup as he tries to tear her throat. Well, "fed you" might be overstated. The pup was under a trainer while Ariel visited occasionally. It's no surprise the wolf wouldn't remember and goes with it's training instead. Wolves like these are strong and heavy. Regardless of Ariel's height, she's bound to be toppled over unless she get support fast.
Kern: Shan and Chiri enter the battle with arrows and flames. Gotta make it big and with a lots of fire. Chiri needed to vent anyways.
Kern: The turnabout point as the defenders rally up together against the wolves. Ariel did get bit hard, twice. Kel would've preferred to have abandoned the colony, but clearly he was promised something that made him change his mind.
Kern: The colonists retreat as those who fight push back the horde. However, killers sneak in the chaos to end Kel's influence. He is the authority figure and the Fallen Legion's job is to go in and murder targets.
Kern: The legion arrives over the hill, sealing the fate of the colony. If you're fighting a magic user, stab the hands, or stab the wrist, or you know just stab first. Stab a lot if you can. Kel'noz is very strong, but has no armor.
Kern: The battle against the wolves gave a chance for the enemy to cut off their retreat by attacking the ship directly. "Where's the enemy?" Aiming at your base with artillery. It's down on the ground, after all. And Kel did want to fall back to begin with, for that reason. He didn't want to take the risk. But some were eager to defend the colony and a concession was made for the alliance. Not much of an alliance if the town is destroyed in the process.
Kern: The enemy could be on them any moment, leaving Kel no choice but to stay behind and try to hold them off long enough for the ship to escape. I know, its tropey to want to stay behind. Maybe he's getting Ariel's bad influence of volunteering for shit.
Kern: Kel separates the ship from the advancing army. (Or he's just going DBZ on everyone.) Insert your favorite DBZ meme here.
Kern: Kel collapses from the effort as the ship drifts away. But Ariel had not left with the others. Of course she disobeyed. And tries to save his butt in the process.
Kern: Kel lives for now, and the ship breaks free from its trap with new refugees onboard. Although there is some bad blood between Kel and Ariel now, along with a lot of blood spilled.
Kern: Things escalate fast as the cannons fire upon the town. Often characters have plans that go wrong, sometimes wrong so fast they don't have time to fail hard. Sang wants prisoner to lure the ship, while the people aboard say "fuck it" so fast that the hostage situation doesn't have time to be announced before said hostages are being shot at.
Kern: The colonists aboard watch as their homes are torn apart. Kel would know it's a bad idea, but its not like the people under the deck can hear him until his command is relayed down. By then, the ssu colonists have a nice bonfire to watch, one without the consolation of seeing the enemies getting any true damage. After all, the crew onboard isn't experienced at firing and they are far away. The blasts land all over the place.
Kern: Blame is thrown and a sense of doubt grows in the newly made alliance of colonies. It is a messy situation and things couldn't go easily forever. Ys was a smooth step they thought would be a challenge, yet this easy tiny town proved to be a greater challenge. They were not prepared for the legion to catch up so fast. And the consequence of fighting back is to drag the colony into becoming a battleground. Note: Chiri is still pissed, she is just blaming herself for the failure as well. For a seer it's got to be a big source of doubt to be able to predict the future when it actually matters.
Kern: The disagreements continue, but there's one thing no one is opposing: They must bring the fight elsewhere. Fight in your home turf, you lose, especially when you fight your own. Bring the fight to an ally, you get the same. But they can't go to the next colony they were expecting a fight either because they could end up in a pincer. That leaves them with a tough decision and some bad blood that need to be wiped off by regaining everyone's confidence. Best confidence booster? A victory.
Kern: In the safety of the mist sea, she finds out Kel kept in touch with their enemy. Well he does not see them as enemies. Besides, we are all too busy looking at this shiny first panel painting Kite did. Not that she spent the whole night polishing it or anything...
Kern: Sar'nel seeks out Kel in the ship filled with refugees. But in the captain's cabin, he finds out something is wrong. There aren't that many cabins in the ship, and they already picked up several groups of people before this that probably already stretched capacity. Now, they got dozens more people onboard that need shelter, including some angry fluff that doesn't take kindly to being called a child when asking for armor.
Kern: Ariel tends to Faen's wound as Chakri compares kill counts and Sar'nel bring his concerns. First time Chakri is drawn without her owl getup. Of course, she had to be upside down; just laying down is boring. As for what Ariel is thinking, we were hesitating to include a flashback there. The whole tearing off an arm and Khaless saying she could take people's face off. Well, she's thinking she could maybe close the wound if she were trying to change the flesh . But what if she can't remove her hand? What if she injures Faen worse, like taking the whole arm off again and end up with 3? What if nothing happens and she just causes pain from touching the wound? Too many bad consequences. And finally, it'd be very hard for Faen to help herself with her pain. She could soothe the pain of others, but herself? That's a lot more complicated. Maybe Banana could make use of the pain better. In the meantime, no, no one had time to stitch Faen's wound.
Kern: Inside the captain's cabin, Sar'nel reveals the source of his concerns. Maybe it's Quain's situation all over, maybe it's simply a lack of skilled healers onboard, or maybe that stab in the back was much worse than what the healer thought. Regardless, he has blood in his lung, he is growing weaker, his hand was stabbed through. This time, Kel may not just be getting back up to save the day. It's only 3 panels and yet the page is 2 days late, so yeah, good thing that one is short. Kite has really been into learning animation, something hopefully we can turn into a use in the future.
Kern: War begins anew, but this time they're on the offensive with the heart of the enemy as their destination. We're back to Felde. And yes, Kel is pushing himself too much. All of these events happen in quick succession, he does not have time to heal.
Kern: The battle plan is explained to the makeshift alliance of colonies. If the enemy does follow them, that would greatly bolster the number of combatants on the field. Forcing the third party to be your ally in a way. With the ship, they've a mean to extract fast. That is, if everything goes well.
Kern: They wait in the cover of the mist for a signal from an unknown party. Kel is getting more sickly-looking, and with that a bit more depressed than he normally is. I mean, got to put more death flags on him so Adira scribble faster.
Editor Note: Kern is referring in this case to the community member Adira, not their in-story cameo.
Kern: Kel is not the only one to spot the flare, however. The garrison stationed on the city's wall sees it, as well. I mean, it's a bright glowing light in the dark sky. At least it's just a flare that has no meaning beside marking a location. But people don't tend to make such a big flare for no reason.
Kern: The city, believing it's a distress call, marshals troops to assist. Two grumpy dragon riders to lead them. They're clearly doomed. At least to get wet. Just a reminder: Felde is in a cavern, albeit one open to the outside, so you don't get rain unless there's a strong wind or you walk out.
Kern: The rescue party leaves the city to discover the ship flying right at the city's defenses. They were ready for something like that, except the ship is also flying fast.
Kern: The ship breaks through the city's outer defenses as most of the cannons fire too late. The mortars were there just in case of something like this. Still, this raid will really kick the beehive that is Felde.
Kern: The mortar shots do nothing to the ship, ballista and cannons fail to keep up with its speed. But one lucky gunner has good aim and strikes its back. It couldn't be easy of course.
Kern: With their ship damaged and enemies in pursuit, they seek to make an emergency landing. Crashing right into Snadhya's tower makes for a good place to do that. At least that's what Kyo thinks. The rotor blade got smashed in, it probably scrapes against the ship every time it spins right now. And some of the blast got sucked into the engine.
Kern: The ship crashes on the enemy's tower and begins firing upon the city. The plan was a raid: Hit hard, lure their pursuers in, and escape. Now the whole escape part is not going to be easy. Which means luring the legion after them isn't going to help the escape, either.
Kern: Reinforcements arrive as the city is under fire. Quill'yate and her Highland Raiders coming charging right at the convoy who were sent to go help with a caravan situation. Well, the situation is much bigger than they thought and the charge is going to hit hard and fast. Note, all those cannons on the wall were turned inward the city. Convenient. And yes, the flare from earlier was from the raiders, so was the messanger Kel was talking to for the last few chapters.
Kern: The charge breaks through the city's defenses. Surprised and with every cannon either depleted or pointed the wrong way made for an easier way in. The weather helps, too. They would want to get to the island where the ship crashed to avoid having both forces cut off from each other; that is, if they can do it. The ship flies, but dawmeres can only run and that city is all islands and bridges!
Kern: The gliders spread across the city as the population leaves their homes to witness the explosions. And Adira is about to close all ways in and through the city to slow the attack down. Though with so many flying enemies, that'll be a hard thing to stop.
Kern: The city's elites are about to strike back at the charging invaders. And well they are on a bridge, charging toward a certain person who can do a certain thing. And it is Felde, and yeah it is DT: When does anything ever go perfectly smoothly? The war over this city isn't going to go like Ys and, to be writer-mode-honest: Ys' easy victory at the start is just a setup for this war.
Kern: With a stone-shattering scream, they put an end to the charge. All lined up on a narrow bridge against Shodun, whose scream can shatter rock. Along with a few of her own proteges she got over the years. Likely, Kyo would be one of them if she had stayed behind. And yes, that one is meant to look like Chrys. A nameless relative
Kern: They rise back up to fight! Dying dawmere, destroyed bridge. But likely those without helmets, or heck those with open visor, who took it to the face must be bleeding. Raider armors are meant to seal them from the environment, meaning Shodun's ability isn't going to be as deadly as it should.
Kern: Meanwhile they bring the fight into the tower itself, causing some of the guests to try to escape. You'll have to wait some more for a real Shodun vs Quill fight; for now, we have to show how the battle is spreading elsewhere. Because many of the cameos are non-combatant guests, expect a lot of cameos in the pages to come.
Kern: The fight spreads into the lower levels of the tower, and its many custodians attempt to stop the invaders. Also, flood of cameos.
Kern: The battle spreads into the corridors as one of the residents spots his daughter among the invaders. Normally I would ignore requests for characters to interact among cameos, because this isn't the point; the story should not focus on them. Though in this case, it helps make the whole divide more clear. Same clan, stuck on both sides of the conflict. It's not just Sarghress, and the people on the other side are not necessarily pro-Snad; they may have genuinely come as part of a proceeding to cement peace. So while Felde struck first, striking back will escalate things.
Kern: More engage into the fight, forcing them to awaken some of the tower's defenses. But is it ever truly going to be enough? This is going to get messier with time passing. The beginnings of a skirmish, with none of the troops outside even engaged yet.
Kern: But the defenses don't last long, at least in this part of the tower. Okay, this page isn't very eventful; especially with the slow update rate, I feel it all the more. Thankfully, we're moving on from it very soon.
Kern: The Beld guardian saves her ward and his daughter from the death trap this corridor became. Battle for corridor is over, now let's move to the rest of the tower. :P And yes, what she did is an ability very similar to what Chrys does.
Kern: The guests attempt to escape the chaos through an elevator, but a powerful force reaches for them from above. And that's Ash, doing her best interpretation of the three sisters from before, except she has one of those said sisters now working with her.
Kern: A staircase up to hell, or at least a form of it. And beyond, their nemesis awaits. Or at least Banana claims she is, but then banana's allegiance is questionable. Faen doesn't like it and they're not there to hunt Snadhya anyways, even though that's what Ash wishes to do. They all want a piece of Snad for revenge.
Kern: The dinning room where Ariel lost her arm, the tainting ceremony chamber... all places they've seen and fought in before. While little demons in the corners keep watch. And Pariel's cameo showing up.
Kern: They quickly find themselves surrounded by the most helpful of demon nurses. Ash should've saved time and just done a Sar'nel by asking the nearest demon where Snad is. Would've saved time.
Kern: Sar'nel remembers the time he met those demons and asks for the group to put down their arms. They are helpful; a bit too helpful at times. Back in Chapter 46, he ended up in the backroom of this place and got help from them to fend off Kalki's minion. And from what the nurses say, they are quite willing to help once again. Not that Chiri or Shan would be happy about it.
Kern: She was a guest of the tower all along, granting her help from the resident demons. Right before they shot Machike to bits, they had sent the ship to pick Ariel up to be one of the guests for some kind of gathering of the clans in Felde. Some Beldrobbaen guests having been shown trying to run away a couple pages ago, but there is many more; both in the tower and outside. This gathering had a hiccup, obviously, and Snadhya is not even present as a result. Quite a few things are not going as they expected, but this one last unexpected meeting goes in their favor. That is, if Chiri can resist the temptation to burn-stab-purge. Finding the source of the corruption is one way to cool down that desire by bringing them to a greater target. And Kau would get to help smash that whole tainting operation; which hits close to home.
Kern: They are led to the core of the tower, where a massive gate awaits. A gate left permanently open, to any world they wish, many of which could destroy the entire city or perhaps more. So yes, Safety 101 thrown out the window. Worse, the people in charge of said safety are the demons that came through the very same gate. To be fair, they are nice, friendly, and probably know their shit. But still, to Chiri and Shan it's a horrifying idea. The kind of thing they were probably warned about as child that the bad dark-skinned cousins would eventually do and doom the entire world. Well there you go, Snad has one right in her house. Even active, meaning anything can pass through anytime. We'll spare you the huge swirl effect that Chiri and Shan see, because if we were to paint in, you'd probably just see that. We figured drawing the physical gate and its size would better express the notion that it's much harder to close. You can't kick the stone or forcibly close it with a sealing stone. It's too big. The gate stones themselves are big. But to go back on the more positive side of thing: They're being given a great opportunity to wreck shit up, that is if they don't mind endangering hundred of thousands in the process...
Kern: The group plans to use the gate to add to the chaos, some guests escape, and Kel comes flying down the tower! Fueled by all the fanarts of late, Kel is powered up. Gliding, pushing motherkillers off their platforms, crashing and landing as if it's nothing. Next he will take Felde all by himself and institute himself emperor. :D Or he'll just take another massive rock to the head. :< He had to come down fast to handle whatever is coming to assault the tower from its base, as there's no way the people inside can run down that fast.
Kern: Kel shatters the bridge while the enemy is crossing. Kel ate his mana flakes this morning. It's his moment to show off. No more performing off screen. Today is Kel's day.
Kern: The bridge is destroyed, and yet Kel stands his ground, alone, against an army and cannon fire. If you follow the discord or news feed, you must have seen one of the many Adira pieces about Kel, so I think it makes more sense for her to be interested instead of furious at the turn of events. More he struggles, more she wants him? Must be a Snad thing.
Kern: The enemy forces are bottled up on the other side of the bridge, but one of them has a plan to retake the tower undamaged. It's Neh. She's holding big gemstones, they're red, clearly demons. Or lewd stuff. Okay, could be lewd demons.
Kern: They prepare a gate to flood the island and the tower upon it with demons. Eliminating all its occupants, both friendly and foe. Though the tainted, especially the fused, would have a much better chance of survival. And likely, this is why Adira is okay with it. Easy purge so they can turn around and deal with the highland raiders. And yes, of course it's a dangerous plan! This is the middle of a city, this could backfire and lead to a cataclysm. But then, remember they got that big gate permanently opened in the tower for years!
Kern: She opens a gateway, and now the demons are coming in great numbers. Or is it just one gigantic beast? Tentacles, a whole lot of tentacles. Neh's dream come true at last, after years of joking around demon tentacles. She's going to cover the city, and it'll be hentai for everyone. :D And yes, the page is supposed to be textless; the editor said it's better that way than having soldiers comment about how fucked up this is. You can tell it's fucked up.
Kern: The ship fires on the demonic beast with no result, while Kel attempts to lure it away from the tower. Yes, Kel is going to run out of those, his bag already looked quite empty. His body and weaponry are bound to run out. And what can a few Kyorls do with no equipment but try to use themselves as bait.
Kern: The demons overwhelm the island, destroying the garden and leaving no chance for the defenders to push back. Tentacles for everyone, let the fondling begin. Kel can join the fun.
Kern: Nurses come to provide assistance with the demon infestation and get a free buffet at the same time. They're very good at containing demons within their own tower and that one was reaching in. Though they had not suddenly popped into existence on the first floor, they were sent down by a certain squad.
Kern: They devour every demon in their path as they walk into the lake, approaching the summoner, who begins to panic. Waka Waka. Those nurses are hungry for squid seafood, they'll gobble it all up, even the bits under the lake. Because you know when you are at an all-you-can-eat buffet, who needs breathing? :O Do they even have noses? ...do they even have mouths? :X
Kern: A giant being emerges from the water. And she has her eye set on the problem. The problem is Neh and the gate, Neh is very very sorry. Probably would make anyone pee their pants or lack thereof. Second time a big demon showed up in the story. This time, though, this one has a body. It affects the water. Its size is impossible btw, there's no way a demon that size can sustain a body. It'd just be gory bits everywhere, let alone an humanoid shape.
Kern: The gate is closed, but the giant demon soon after begins to collapse. PSA demon nurse; if there was a fire she'd tell you to roll on the ground or that only you can prevent forest fire. Neh didn't even get a giant slap on her nose this time. :<
Kern: The giant demon dissolves after her deed is done. Leaving the enemy open for attack. City's water is going to taste funny for a while. And yeah, no demon that big can last. They fed, grew, and collapsed. A few rogue ones feed on the shield, likely out of necessity rather than will.
Kern: Chakri fights the enemy commander as her companions take down the enemy's artillery. But she gets to be a cooked bird for her effort.
Kern: The fight worsens with bloodshed and the city getting damaged. Ship is now severely damaged, their cannons shooting at their own city and tower. Owls and Feldians dying and, worst of all, both Adira and Chakri lost their cloak. Scandalous!
Kern: Another force approaches to join the battle. Unfortunately no, they don't lose more clothes and this does not turn into a pokemon battle.
Kern: The legion arrives, having somehow passed through every defense on the way. Or perhaps having destroyed everything on their way. Chakri wanted to disrupt the army and possibly get at their commander. She hasn't done the latter, but she sure kept them busy long enough.
Kern: Chakri attempts to escape, but things begin to go wrong. A lot, like very fast downhill. So much so she's down to the ground being mauled. It couldn't go well forever, and the legion isn't going to just shake hands and say "good day sir" and walk off or something. The plan was to have shit hit the fan in Felde, well shit is coated quite thoroughly. Now let's put the speed to max. Except part of the plan was to escape right when that happens... Ship is blown, and now Chakri isn't going to be flying anywhere. :C Plans never go perfectly.
Kern: All is lost for her sisters and she doesn't have long to live. She takes the blade from a fallen soldier and goes for the kill before her own end comes. When I wrote that shit is thoroughly coated on the fan, I meant it. And it had to be quite cemented by having Chakri seeing her sisters-at-arms being killed as she is being mauled to the ground. No sounds of pain though, she has one thing in mind only. If she is die then she'll do so by taking out the enemy leader. Sword is a tad big for a quick stab though, not to mention it's not her weapon of choice. Mimians don't have much luck in Felde. Well, in this particular case, - no one - has any luck. Okay nevermind, Kel has crazy luck. Excuse me, I have to go put another death flag somewhere.
Kern: A stab at her enemy's neck is all she gets before being caught by the neck herself. There isn't much she can do now. And if there is any doubt, there you go, the incoming legion see themselves as allies to the locals.
Kern: They expected a war between their two enemies. They will be sorely disappointed. Can't be further raid, mayhem, and trail of destruction if they were just let in. That also implies a certain fate to any raider found on the way. Instead, they find themselves surrounded on an island with no means to escape and their only airborne allies decimated. So yeah, fun time. And finally this chapter enters its last arc now that the legion is here.
Kern: On another island, the fight between the raiders and Snadhya's protege continues. Things didn't go well for the raiders, but then, things didn't go well for Shodun's elite troops either. Quill's raiders never managed to reach up to the tower, though she is not down yet. If they can just take down screamy lady... Snad's chosen people are all unusualy strong, and Shodun is no exception on that. Hey, if they keep this up at least Felde is going to start to look like Chel. Housing might get cheap! :)
Kern: She disengages from the fight and lures her foe to one of the nearby warboats besieging the island. Where she will takeover and become pirate queen of this lake. Or something. Too bad Rayata isn't there.
Kern: They find themselves face-to-face within the boat. Certain that her cornered enemy can't escape, she chooses to blow the entire boat up--With herself in it. Because why not! WHAT COULD GO WRONG!? Dunno, you tell me.
Kern: The remains of the obliterated boat falls into the water while above, in the tower, an ambush falls upon Faen's family. Ash has yet to bleed in this chapter, actually I don't think she bled yet. Can't have that. Can we have her live? I mean, she is trying to get Kel and there is competition. It's worth thinking about reducing the amount of ladies around Kel. Also that scene where Reka block the arrow is because of Code's fanart. Enjoy your hand stab, Soulcode. Editor's Note: Soulcode is Reka's sponsor.
Kern: Something awakens in the room, something that's impervious to Ash's attack and ready to squash her into bloody pulp. Also, it's a Sullissin statue. Got to be ironic in a way, a statue of one of Ash's ancestor is going to kill her. As to what the statue is: It's a summon within the statue. Remember the griffons from Chapter 46? Same thing. Empathy can't do anything on something that isn't alive. So right now, Ash is just one lady without armor that never did her cardio. You know what happens when undead things reach out to people who don't do their cardio? They die. Also page 100, yay.
Kern: The former slave saves Ash from being crushed, but the traitor reveals her true intentions once they're cut off from their escort. Everyone wants a piece of Ash. Bae likely waited until she was alone, or at least relatively alone, with Ash to get the whole stabbity ready. Maybe the slave and Faen will join on stabbing one of the worst mom? :V
Kern: Ash's threats only strengthen the will of her kin to stab her in the neck. Far below, Chiri stands stunned by something she alone witnesses. To be fair everyone is getting stabbed, especially clan leaders. It's a miracle Ash had survived this long, and its only because she became a hermit. Can't trip down staircases if you don't use staircases. Smart Ash. Except, well, it pissed off a lot of people. It's Snad's political party after all: "Lets kill those damn immortal parents of ours". Very popular with kids nowadays. :U
Kern: The enemy awaits them beyond the door in an ambush. Set by Chiri's evil twin, Chiwi. Or it's just a vision where she sees herself as the person giving the vision. Second one makes more sense. BUT CHIWI WILL SOMEDAY STRIKE. Maybe. Vision it is, for now. She hadn't had any of them for a while, and now they're all coming in succession.
Kern: The ambush fails thanks to Chiri's returning visions, but now they're cut off and the island is being overwhelmed by their enemies. It's not just Quill that can do the whole lifting-rock-to-make-a-bridge trick. If one side can do it, the other side can. And now there's no more ship to go pew pew from above. A whole lot of stabbing, a whole lot of visions of stabbing, yet very little they can do.
Kern: The closed door doesn't hold them for long and thus the chase begins. Thing is when shifting rock is such a common power, sometimes it's just easier to take the door entirely. No need to even bash it. The other thing is yeah sure, rejoin Kel, but then what? Too few, diminishing defenses, clearly they can't stop the legion from progressing up the tower, blahblahblah. :[ Hopefully Kel has a plan, because they don't. Well Ariel has the plan of rescuing a silver-haired fluff, which would be counter-productive.
Kern: Meanwhile, the demon gate is getting unstable and its keepers are dying. Is it Naal reborn? WAS NAAL A DEMON NURSE ALL ALONG? They have one eyeball each, clearly related. Or not. Maybe its just a generic nice tiny demon ball design that's oh-so-convenient. Also poor nurses; trying to keep that tower standing and people safe, now it's going to get reaaally difficult to keep things safe. Btw, did I say things are going to shit? Just in case, yes, Felde is going to shit. Its not going to get better soon. :[
Kern: The tower's defenses crumble fast, and its new defenders are forced to retreat from the first floor. Dalvy's Chigusa is the last cameo that needed a scene to show up, now she can finally have her and her dragon do something in the melee. Or try to. Also, demons in the background. By now there's plenty about. Also Naal. Kind of Naal. Congrats demon nurse, you are Naal 3.
Kern: They find themselves surrounded as the tower's guardians fall around them. Demons go nom nom and reduce all of Snad's golems and summons to lunch. Normally there'd be safeguards against that but, you know, stuff happened. At least Snad is going to be furious when she gets home, regardless who wins. IF anyone wins. :U
Kern: The enemy leader reveals herself, giving an opportunity to a daring few to try and end this all in one attack. Sang survived that long for a reason. And it so happens she is moving her prostetic limbs, all four of them, with her own affinity. Same affinity that just turned that metal to liquid, and left a nice wound on one of the pilots. She is petite, looks frail, and never openly fought before. She doesn't duel, she doesn't do her own killing. So she is far from imposing, and honestly if I could I would have tried to give her a more threatening feel a while ago. But it's too late, so here is her kicking two advanced golems butts as if they were nothing.
Kern: The clan has changed during their long absence and now it's catching up to them. Kel keeps getting a beating, and on his pretty face no less. You guys also have a partial answer as to why Sang is doing this; at least hints of it. Please remember that characters lie, too. :) Fallen's trainer has the abillity of punching through shields. Kel is very vunerable to him.
Kern: To end the nobles ruling over their clan so they can be free. It was the Sarghress' original thing and it's back. Val of Sharen or Val of Sarghress, there is no difference in many minds. Kel and Ariel are the two to get rid of, Mel being completely out of the picture for a long time now. Koil might have tried to maintain the status quo and pissed off the anti-Val. Or maybe Sang is just using the movement to get power. Or maybe she always was annoyed, just like many others, with Quain trying to shove her bloodline into the whole Val nobility thing. Three years apart is enough for any group to pump themselves up into wanting to get rid of the 1% :V Everything is due to Quain. Even dead, it's all her fault. No matter what the topic is! Also, Kyo is annoyed enough to get involved now. Also, bottom of the barrel for Kel, that's a KO punch right there.
No official announcement.
Editor's Note: A solo page drawn in advance by Kern without Kite's usual shading as they prepared for a vacation to Japan. The disabled airship is finally being boarded by the city's defenders, as the engineers grimly assess the situation. Meanwhile, one of the Wolfpack's non-combatants does her best to comfort Octarya and Pelan.
No official announcement.
Editor's Note: A solo page drawn in advance by Kern without Kite's usual shading as they prepared for a vacation to Japan. Though the other engineer attempts to raise his spirits, the formerly-enslaved engineer despairs at the situation before having a sudden idea.
Kern: The final page of the vacation specials, with the reveal of what will happen to the ship. Regular fully colored pages will resume on Monday. And yes, it will follow the whole owls-demons-rising thing on Monday. I wouldn't have dared try to do more outside Felde scenes by myself, while these indoor scenes felt like they could be made faster given the limited time I had for the vacation. As for the current page topic, I mean, what could go wrong right?! It's still anchored to the tower - Snadhya's tower - Let's blow it up!
Editor's Note: Some context here is that pages 112 through 116 were originally uploaded out-of-order, owing to disruption caused by Kern and Kite's vacation to Japan. Kern is simply noting the true sequence of pages.
Kern: The victorious army is removing the corpses littering the streets when another crisis arises. Too many dead birds. Tossing corpses in the lake is a normal thing to do for them, but it's going to stink for a while.
Kern: Something dragged one of the soldiers underwater and now it wants more. Next time, don't dump the trash in the water, you filthy litterers.
No official announcement.
Editor's Note: One of the pages drawn as Kite/Kern prepared to go on a vacation to Japan, this page was a fully-completed solo effort by Kern, giving a rare glimpse into Kern's own take on shading/background. A task normally handled by Kite.
Kern: The moment before the rebirth of the owls. Because I colored the last page (117) before our travels it lead to our buffer to be depleted, nothing for Kite to color last week. And it turns out I needed more time to catch up on work, so! One last additional scene by Kite that shows what happened under the water.
Kern: She surveys her carnage, having destroyed her own vessel and her enemy together. No body yes, but that's what happens to someone in full plate falling in water is what she's thinking. Quill sunk, be it alive or dead at the time. Exhausted and without a weapon. So we're back to the "present". I didn't want to cut the "owls turning zombie-demon" thing in the middle, with the trip, and I didn't want to cut this one either. These are important ones. Also, I said it on Discord: Never trust characters with that hairstyle, they're up to no good.
Kern: A hand reaches out to drag her underwater. Because she is a filthy Nid in need of a good washing. :D And I saw today I forgot to include something in a previous scene regarding this battle. Sad, but can't do anything about it now.
Kern: Her mighty power that can shatter buildings comes to little once underwater. Snadhya vs Rock: Rock wins. Pinky vs Fire. Fire wins. Judicator vs Staircase: Gravity wins.
Shodun vs Water: Water wins. Drown the bitch, it doesn't matter how strong her power is, water getting in the lungs is going to kill all the same. Quill'yate's armor wouldn't allow her to swim, but it sure is a great way to keep her opponent underwater, too. :) Her helm is waterproof, btw. No, it doesn't allow her to breath underwater. Shodun screaming did shorten her chances to win at who could keep her breath the longest. And that platform of rock under Quill? She made it go up. That's how she got that footing.
Editor's Note: The monstrous form in the background is Pretty'mouth the Tentacle Mermaid. Or at least another Jaal'darya creation like her. Felde is just the loveliest place, no?
Kern: She emerges from the water to find that no one wishes to fight her any longer. I mean, these aren't some proud noble lineage of warriors; it's just a hired hand working on a boat that her boss just blew up. She isn't going to fight the scary lady that can float out of the lake where her boss drowned. It's not vital to the plot by any means, I just wanted to show a Feldian point of view to this whole madness. Most of the city wouldn't want to be involved in this fight.
Plus this is baiting Thrair, he likes his random mooks with no name. Editor's Note: The bait was taken, and a concept art of the nameless mook was commissioned. Thus giving her a canon name.
Kern: She pays the price for not having paid attention to her family for so many years. Another example of great power being quite useless sometimes. Ash is very strong, but there it's pretty much face-meets-the-floor. She is so physically unfit, she couldn't do anything to save herself. Also bounding time between "Kusette" and Quill.
Kern: She offers her a knife, to end the life of the one who beat her up. It's social stabbing at this point, and a view on the reason why some join Snad to depose their own clan's leader. Lots of frustration there, and Ash is a prime-bitch example. She isn't nice to anyone that she doesn't seek power from. Quain, Kel, sure. Most other people are lucky to have their names remembered. From banana's point of view, Ash is the reason why their clan fell apart and is always second-class. At this point, she isn't feeling very threatened; even assuming Faen wouldn't get in her way .
Kern: Faen puts an end to the stabbing. Or at least tries. She thinks of little Octarya and Pelan there: If she lets that happen, what then? Do they stab her someday? Somebody has to stop the chain of stabbing at some point. :[
Kern: Slapping, strangling, and one last struggle for these empath sibblings. They're really an intervention to discuss their feelings; empaths aren't the most stable of people so far. And Faen was too hopeful that this Nid chould change her ways. Her convictions haven't changed, just switched sides to get her goal done. Which was to kill Ash.
Kern: Faen makes her feel what it is to be strangled. Don't fuck with the bear, she's all about defense. I know some expected Faen to just kill her outright but that isn't very Faen-like. She learned over the years and she is strong now, in her own way. But too soft in others. Maybe Kyo will find a knife soon and solve the issue, just like she solved a certain issue at the colony...
Kern: The hunted turn against their hunters. Somebody gave Chiri a fire source. Terrible mistake, soon the whole tower will be on fire. Let's not forget someone is setting the ship to explode so not only will the tower be on fire, it'll explode outward and everyone--will be happy. Yes, exactly, happyness for everyone. :O Kyo, meanwhile, is trying a speech right after a scream; not going so well since she made everyone deaf first.
Kern: There's no winning in this fight. Defeat Kor'maril, and Ariel just weakens her clan; getting rid of a former ally, a kin. It's inner-clan conflict, and if Sang/Kor tell the truth, they are what's left of who could still lead. Kill them, what happens? More factions. Lose? Well, that's going back in chains to serve a lady that seems to have made a deal with the Nids. There's also the bit that there is a real lack of communication in the last few years between the Sarghress families. Could be intentional, could be miscommunication, could just be the wars cutting important messages. Kill a courrier, an important letter is lost; and events unfold from that simple loss.
Kern: With no chance to escape and the only means to continue resisting involving killing a former ally, she does the only thing that can stop the bloodshed. If you can't win, then you have to cut the losses. At least, that's part of what is going through Ariel's mind. Also some guilt, really. She doesn't like being noble anymore than Quain did. Some people thought Kyo's words would somehow sway the enemy back to unity. Hopefully they didn't expect them surrending. Back in chains, it is!
Kern: Meanwhile, below, things have taken a turn for the worse for everyone involved. Burning, crushing, stabbing, strangling, all the fun stuff and Sang is not impressed. Kyo's talk of unity can't sway, but unity through strength is hard to dismiss. It's a clan where the strong lead. Numbers is one of the valid strengths.
Kern: A duel: One last hope to save them from a massacre. Except the would-be challenger is on the ground bleeding out... And Sang doesn't have to accept either. She is winning, the only concession she could ask for is total surrender and have everyone executed. If she just sacrifices more soldiers, she'll get them all dead. Now, the soldiers who'd be sacrificed to prolong the combat may not always agree on that perspective, so whether she can be forced into accepting is only through sheer peer pressure. Thankfully, there is at least three among the crowd who sympthize with their opponents enough to speak up and put some pressure on their leader to finish the job.
Kern: Kel is helped back up to take on his challenge, but it is for far less than he had hoped. His people won't be saved if he wins, all he get is one chance to kill the pretender. Kel's side is the one making the challenge. They're losing, so setting conditions for victory is hard to enforce. If you don't have the strength to enforce anything, well shit, you get nothing indeed. What truly makes Sang fight is the expectation her own troops will remember her declining a challenge, an easy one at that, from a Val she tells everyone has to die. Quain would have taken the challenge, so she has to.
Kern: Big boom incoming! Can't have one last duel without ensuring the whole place explode as well, right? Possibly Kel losing his shirt as well.
Kern: Big boom. Part of the tower is destroyed and a swarm of demons is coming upon the city. That one cameo, though, is truly dead no matter what the cameo owner says. But then, the rest of the city is about to get into trouble. Also everyone in the tower. When shit hits the fan, it splatters everywhere. Felde is now officially splattered.
Kern: The tower shakes, part of it collapses, and Kel runs from his opponent to choose his own battleground. Top make pancakes? To ambush? To strip and dance where no one is watching? Because he knows he is fucked when surrounded by enemies when trying to do his duel? Maybe all of them. Still, there's a lot of demons now.
Kern: She won't fall so easily. And the demons surrounding them are going to make the duel all the more difficult. Hungry hungry demon game. And Sang has her own foci as well. She can reshape the earth if she needs to.
Kern: They stand together, surrounded by demons; bloodied for one and losing an arm for the other. Sang lost her limbs in the past, she uses four golems limbs which, for someone of her affinity, can be easily manipulated. However the weakness of golems and any mana tech is demons. Extremely weak to it, any touch and - bam - it's gone and the demon grows stronger. Now Sang probably has a full sealing team behind her. But she has that challenge going on with Kel who is also bloodied. What was she doing with her arm? Trying to take out any foci in it. She did manipulate earth after all, she was hoping to get rid of the demon but it stayed.
Kern: She wants him dead, and fast. He just wants to make sure she receives no aid, because she's about to become nom-nom for demons. Kel probably already thinks himself dead. Thing is, if they both die, he sees a hope in this. Whether that is a true hope or just more shit to hit the fan is to be seen.
Kern: Kel bleeds from many wounds and barely has the strength to stand. But he still manages to do one last thing: Throw his last weapon away. To lure the hungry hungry demons again, just at Sang.
Kern: He can barely stand in his victory. And perhaps not survive it. The thought of this fight was that Kel truly had no chance to win, and if I have any regrets, it is to have failed to show Sang kicking butt earlier for contrast. She is not a bad fighter, but she has that flaw with those limbs that makes her vulnerable, unable to escape if a demon were to snatch her. Now she can just talk and wiggle. As helpless as it gets. Thing is, Kel can't do anything, either. If that man bends, he's not getting back up again. Kite pointed out "Hey, he got stabbed in the leg, why isn't he falling?" If he does, it's over, it's him laying in defeat. He is victorious only in the fact that he is standing and his enemy is laying down. She tried to take this away from him, but by now her limbs don't have much strength. It stabbed, but didn't get through.
Kern: He smirks as he watches her being devoured. He doesn't care much anymore, as he expects to die himself. And a little insight on how Kel sees his niece.
Kern: The war prisoners are taken out of a city left devastated. Kel is in the cart with the bag over his head, and Ariel is the other one. Even her hair is bound. Snadhya is going to not smile when she gets to see what happened to her home.
Kern: The legion's leader died from the demons eating her from the inside or, more likely, received a mercy kill before she was taken over. I heard the ending of this chapter is making some unhappy. Note, it was always planned this way. A surrender, a forced march back to Chel, Sang perishing leaving the legion leaderless. It was originaly with Kor already knowing about the death and facing Ariel in a prisoner carriage about it. But why save the carriage for Ariel when you can force her to walk the whole way? Felt more right to save the carriages for Sang. Now, could Sang's death be SHOWN? Yes, sure. "Arrggh I'm being eaten, kill me son, make sure they all die, raargh!" Fun bloody time, maybe emotional time for Kor. But that would have been a focus on the antagonist, which I don't think people would've liked either. Sang would have needed more character-building prior to these events, I think.
Kern: The end of the chapter with Kel leaving a final remark to the legion's dilemma. The power of fanart kept Kel alive. Doggo get scritches. Ch55 good boi return? Note this page's text was not proofread, yet. I'll check for Thalar edits later and update it. And there was an optional additional page or two to show what happened in Ys with Vaelia and Taldrin left behind. We decided not to include them to leave Kite some chibi pages to work on while I write the next chapter.
Kern: A special "Cheer up Kel page". Because he needs it and it probably happened. Maybe not that cute, but then everything is cute through Kite's eyes. In case someone didn't catch it: She said she's pregnant at the end.
Kern: 17 years of Drowtales; that's a lot of years. Almost half my life, for that matter! Heck, by the time this project is over, it will have lasted half my life. Kids have grown up in that span and, speaking of kids growing up, Sygdom came forward to create this special "Date Kel" interactive page. Thank you Syg! Now, this isn't a big thing. It actually only took us 3 hours to prepare the graphics, but its something worth exploring in the future. That old netherworld TV animation where Kiel fought Chiri? Might be possible to make such a thing interactive. So I hope you forgive us for playing around with the whole character death flag tropes, for I think this kind of small project is a promise for more interactive fun to come. That said, thank you everyone for sticking around all those years! Now to kick Felde where it hurts, go back to Chel, and say "hi" to Snadhya.
Kern: What does the summoner find beyond the gate? It's not like the things beyond the gate want to be summoned... This special is made so that Kite can have a day off for her birthday. I had to do something simple by myself, but no worries, regular updates resume Saturday night.
Kern: Two pages, one by Kite and one by Mau. Somehow, Kite chose to do tiny fanservice in panel 1. XD And Kel almost dies again from a flung chestplate. Karma is really out to get him. Thanks Kite for the day off! Day 2 is Mau giving us both a day off, woot.
No official announcement.
Kern: Hard to have a dramatic speech when your companion is flooding the room with fire, in this Kite special page. This is the kind of thing that goes in between us when we work on pages. Can't have this happen, of course, but it's still entertaining to think about.
Kern: Kite special: Extra-bloody Kel served up. Take a piece while he can't bend over!
Kern: Will the secret power of Taldrin allow him to save the colony? Yeah, no. There were an epilogue planned for Vaelia and Taldrin in the colony, but the proofreaders voted to end the chapter on Kel's words instead. So here is a little something about what happened in the colony. Yes, the legion passed by and rounded up the wolfpack that was there. Taldrin will be with the others in the next chapter.
Kern: Epilogue between Kau and his father. Family bonding going poorly, as always. Especially when dad messes with his favourite toys. Two more cameos snuck in! Since those were in golems all this time, we finally get to see their full bodies and... in chibi style they have no limbs!
Kern: Final epilogue of the chapter is up, with demon Chakri, and holy shit even when Kite try to do creepy it comes out adorable. I'd take a wallpaper of derp-demon Chakri.