Title page Chapter 1: Shadows
Page 1: panel 1: a bedside just after birthing, a grim looking Balthazor looks down at a newborn and ignores the woman’s 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 father’s heartiest complaint at that time was that I wasn’t destroying parts of the city when I had temper tantrums. In his day, you’d see at least a plague of toads.
panel 3: closeup of shot of Balthazor’s still disapproving face, text underneath
text: No, I don’t understand him either.
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 won’t have to force the link. We’d waste more power than we’d 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 don’t have the power to spare. Useless trio of brats. My younger two are already more promising.
Nia, who’s 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 Mel’s side and placing her hands on a scraped and bloody knee. Textbox is above the panel, in the same type as Bal’s speech
Text: “When one of you develops Foresight, then complain to me. Otherwise, never speak of this again.”
textbox: Mellisande picked up her mother’s 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- who’s 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 couldn’t make the iron in a man’s 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.
textbox: Lauron, Komen’s eldest, gained the more benign aspects of her father’s abilities. While her twin brothers could raise the dead, Lauron gained the ability of music.
panel 2: the girl’s 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 weren’t 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.
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 don’t 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 couldn’t 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 Mel’s hurt knee, with a glow surrounding the injury. Second shows the glow fading away and Mel’s knee good as new
textbox underneath: I had a rather strong healing ability, though where in the family tree that came from I’ve 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.
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 Teyda’s greatness. The limited magic makes our abilities seem extraordinary indeed. It makes one think, and wonder....
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