Title page Chapter 1: Shadows
Pic of young Cara looking up, teary eyed, with a manís shadow extending over her as if cast by the viewer

 

 

Page 1: panel 1: a bedside just after birthing, a grim looking Balthazor looks down at a newborn and ignores the womanís body (indistinct to the viewer) on the bed itself. Textbox is to the right side of the panel

 

text: I spent my life eternally disappointing my father. Apparently as his only spawn, I should have been excessively powerful. As the eldest, born on a night of no moon, at the height of the year, and killing my mother- a surrogate hired for the sole purpose of birthing me, no less- according to Balthazor, I should have had enough power to make his look insignificant by age five.

 

Panel 2: Balthazor glaring down disapprovingly at a young Cara, textbox to the left this time

text: I envy the parents that whine about having to toilet train their children. My fatherís heartiest complaint at that time was that I wasnít destroying parts of the city when I had temper tantrums. In his day, youíd see at least a plague of toads.

 

panel 3: closeup of shot of Balthazorís still disapproving face, text underneath

text: No, I donít understand him either.
Nor do I ever wish to.

 

 

Page 2:
panel 1: the 3 girls romping in a garden scene, 3 seated figures blurry but discernable at the edge next to a fountain. Text is at the right of the panel

text: I grew up alongside the firstborn of Nia and Komen, of course. To say that we thought of each other as sisters is inaccurate only in that it implies we occasionally realized we were not actually such.

 

panel 2: shot of the Triptych seated at a fountain (Nia in rock throne built up from the earth, Komen in skeletal chair, Balthazor on nothing but sparkly air), their daughters in the background. Text is to the left.

textbox: We never questioned that we would one day form a triumvirate, combining our magical powers to make a far greater whole. We expected it like we expected the sun to rise.

speech: Komen: So, they combine their powers already?

speech: Nia: So young.... This promises good things for their eventual power levels.

speech: Balthazor, unimpressed and expressionless: At least we wonít have to force the link. Weíd waste more power than weíd gain.

 

panel 3: same shot as above, but in the background, Mel (the Asian, tomboyish) has fallen down and is clutching at her knee

speech: Komen, giving Balthazor a snide look: Of course, they donít have the power to spare. Useless trio of brats. My younger two are already more promising.

Nia, whoís giving Balthazor a similar look: At times I wonder why you insisted so much that we concentrate on the eldest. They do seem rather... deficient.

Balthazor glares regally back at them: I have Seen hints of their future. Their power could challenge ours if not controlled.

 

panel 4: a closer shot of the three girls, with Cara going to Melís side and placing her hands on a scraped and bloody knee. Textbox is above the panel, in the same type as Balís speech

Text: ďWhen one of you develops Foresight, then complain to me. Otherwise, never speak of this again.Ē

 

 

page 3:
panel 1: the Asian girl as a young teen, dressed in padded armor as she goes through a sword fighting routine. Nia looks on from the background. text is above the panel

textbox: Mellisande picked up her motherís affinity for earth- only Mel had it honed to a sharp, exact study that was limited to metals. And Mel being Mel, that meant weapons. She loved anything with a blade. While she learned all the rote skills to heat and warp metal to her will, she was always happiest when dancing with a sharp object, and it was then that she seemed at one with the element.

 

panel 2: different view of above scene, Mellisande in different pose (on guard) while focus is on Nia- whoís not happy. Text is again above the panel.

textbox: I never understood why Nia was so displeased that Mel specialized her powers to such an extent. Weapons in her hands were an extension of her will, making her near invincible in combat. While she couldnít make the iron in a manís blood stop moving, or some such dramatic and lethal feats, nothing was more graceful or deadly than Mel with a sword.

Textbox lining bottom of page: Looking back, I suspect it was simply that the skills of weapon fighting and smithing- with a forge, Mel could create any object, weapon or craft- were simply too utilitarian, too COMMON for Nia.

 

 

Page 4
panel 1: three children seated at a table under the watchful eye of Komen. Left is the white haired teen girl playing a flute, right is twin boys, maybe age 8, focused on a dead cat on the table. Text is below

textbox: Lauron, Komenís eldest, gained the more benign aspects of her fatherís abilities. While her twin brothers could raise the dead, Lauron gained the ability of music.

 

panel 2: the girlís flute is now playing itself, while the wavering shape of a harp has manifested and producing music. Other musical notes are scattered throughout the panel. The boys have clasped hands and are still focused on the cat, which has now risen and begun to groom itself. Komen is either praising the boys or giving Lauron a despairing look. Text below again

textbox: As you might expect, her skills werenít really appreciated either. Never mind that she could produce melodies that could make those dead weep, if she could not make a single mouse bone move, she had no useful magic.

 

 

Page 5:
textbox at top of the page: And I, I was the greatest failure of all. Balthazor had as many magical skills as most people had hairs. My mother, to be the professional companion that she was, had proficiency in all manners of.... How do I put it politely? Perhaps ďmagical aids to the bodily pleasuresĒ will do. I should have spilled off magic with every breath.

 

panel 1: a row of small before and after pictures, separated from each other into triangle slices. All characters are chibified. First pair: Cara glaring at a candle, next the candle has melted and sagged slightly in the middle, leaving her looking sheepish. Second pair: throwing bits of we donít want to know what into a cauldron, then classic after explosion scene. Third pair: Cara in a conjuring circle, then holding an insubstantial, ugly little thing by the tail

textbox underneath: I couldnít seem to do anything. Never mind doing anything right, I had about as much magic as your average peasant. It took Balthazor years to discover I actually had talent for something.

 

panel 2: split in half. First is same scene as 3 pages ago: Cara has her hands on Melís hurt knee, with a glow surrounding the injury. Second shows the glow fading away and Melís knee good as new

textbox underneath: I had a rather strong healing ability, though where in the family tree that came from Iíve no idea. Father certainly had no talent for it. Sometimes I wonder if that made him jealous. He went through so much trouble to spawn the master magician, and instead he got an incompetent girl who could only manage the one thing he could not.

 

 

Page 6:
textbox at top of page: Well, at least we three managed to do one thing greater than our illustrious parents.

panel 1, takes up all of page except textbox above and one below. The main image is that of the castle from the very beginning. The left half is sparkly new, at its height, as before. The right is run down, tarnished, missing a few towers and much of the magical touches. A town has spread around the edges, and functional defenses are everywhere. Superimposed over it are the three women, posed like the portrait but now looking clearly alive, if transparent and full of Attitude.

textbox at bottom border: Yes, we died before our parents. But the Triptych fell to death, and the kingdom into ruin. Somehow, our spirits survived the centuries, housed in the portrait of out triumvirate. Lately, our abilities have begun to flex and grow, and we have left our entrapment. This world, a mutation of our home time, holds only a paltry candle to Teydaís greatness. The limited magic makes our abilities seem extraordinary indeed. It makes one think, and wonder....
            Perhaps in this new world, we could do it one more time. Perhaps we could outshine our literally legendary parents, one more time.
            Perhaps.... Perhaps we could overcome death a second time.

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