It’s good to at least have guessed the raiding party’s standard winter covers (grey) correctly. If that’s Pontagar over on their left flank as they head out, then it’s obvious he is taking some lighter color, perhaps just to be, …well, …Pontagar. Maybe I’m biased, and he’s got a special snow-blending colored cover suit for ambushes from positions hidden in snow?
If Larry and Moe meet *this* patrol they will likely be toast. If they are both cold and slow enough, could one or both be captured? Would the raiders see any reason to capture instead of kill Urtts, such as finding what Urtt force is sending patrols into the area they picked for their winter hide? Would the Urtts, in their present state, talk?
However, it is not yet obvious that the stalker belongs to this particular group from the raiding party. It will be interesting to see if the shelter the raider’s patrol find is also Ginsha’s cave. If so, preventing tragedy will take all of Rannik’s abilities at diplomacy, as well as very possibly lotsa agility.
Note that Pontagar ( http://barbarianprincess.com/?comic=page-571 and the next ) has shown some growing-up. So his particular clothes may have something to do with a particular task, or they are just Fire tribe fashion as opposed to Moon tribe and Snake tribe.
And yeah, even at their best I do not think two Urtt rank-and-file are a match for the same number of this particular group of Erogenians (in the page linked above, Zona mentions that they are the best), let alone twice that.
Last, I think that if they found Ginsha and left her alone, everything would go smooth as silk. And even if they press the confrontation, they do not have to be as stupid about it as Curly was. Note that he had beaten her at first, and she only took the upper hand when he let his guard down to try and fuck her.
He may have grown up, but he’s hardly an adult. Or did you not notice his condescending manner when talking to Fiz.
If you are referring to the guy talking to Fiz in the first two panels, that’s Rannik (the warchief, http://barbarianprincess.com/?comic=page-425 and http://barbarianprincess.com/?comic=page-444 ). I think the rectangular speech bubbles mean that they are speaking in sign language, which as exemplified in http://barbarianprincess.com/?comic=page-489 , has questionable syntax but is much more stealthy.
Several thoughts: first, on this page the clouds are clearing while on the previous one they were thick and dark. So the Erogenians are somewhat removed from the Urtts (in space, time or both, we cannot know yet). Which means Fiz is probably not betraying them.
Second, despite similar colors, the shapes and texture of the Erogenians’ garb does not match that of the Other Person in the previous page. So I remain in the dark about him, her or it.
Third, I took the time to archive-dive to ascertain Fiz’s name, but I am not sure. Is the gorgeous auburn-haired Sheahla ( http://barbarianprincess.com/?comic=page-342 )?
I wonder, is the warchief prejudiced towards half-Urrts, or was he using brevity in case of careless talk?
I think Prince Pontagar is prejudiced against anyone who’s not a Fire clan man.
Doesn’t help that Fire Clan member Genna has taken a shine to Fiz.
They were using sign language for stealth, but yeah it has been mentioned that the war-chief Pontagar totally hates Fiz.
Oh, sign language. I didn’t pick up on that. Good spot.
The opening dialogue is in a different box and square with broken pointers. It is, indeed, sign language which we’ve seen before. Here, in fact:
I was trying a different technique to show it, as the last time there was some confusion about who was talking.
The warchief is Rannik. Before they set off Zona made him a condition of her accepting the mission, as he is, she admits, better than she is at this. Rannik has no problem with Fiz at all.
Pontagar is there in the different-styled cold weather kit. Pontagar is still Pontagar. And more will be seen next page.
Thanks for the clarification. I should have read it before answering to SeanR.
Interesting how you hardly comment about what the different kit means.
So Zona admitted Rannik was better than her at deep reconnaissance missions, didn’t she?
It’s just that I can’t remember where such a dialogue happened between the two.
To the best of my knowledge, we did not see her do so. However, on page 425 (see the link above), she does admit so to Ipola. On pages 442 to 446 (again, there is another link above), where she discusses her relationships to Rannik and to Mentl in the middle of strategic planning, she says nothing of the sort.
Then again, one may assume she had told him so before, if and when he balked at accepting the appointment because their relationship seems to be at least a little awkward. (His behaviour in pages 442 to 446 is somewhat removed from the archetypal disciplined, stiff-upper-lip soldier, so I can picture him refusing at first.)
One last thing before I go to bed: for the first time in years I find something I do not enjoy in the drawings. The snow on the trees looks like it lacks texture to me, and its position on the middle tree could be more convincing (although I will readily admit that such patterns could well be found in real life, a storyteller of your caliber does not need to be reminded about the difference between truth and believability).
I hope the comment does not offend too much, and would like to renew my congratulations for the usually superb quality of your output, be it drawing or writing.
I hear ya, but getting cgi snow to look right is, from what I understand, surpassed in difficulty only by trying to get blond hair to look right in sunlight. (Blond hairs are actually translucent, almost transparent, so light passes *through* them as well as reflecing off them.) Snowflakes…are clear, have millions of faceted surfaces, and are partially translucent when clumped in piles, whether on branches or in drifts on the ground. While Disney has billions of dollars it can throw around to make snow in Frozen look perfect…JED doesn’t have that kind of a special effects budget, never mind a team of coders and digital artists to render everything perfect.
Knowing the above difficulties exist in computer animation rendering, I just take a moment to mentally breathe deep and let it out all slow and relaxed. That, and the story’s so good, I can even reread the earliest pages with pleasure, which admittedly show an early quality and style.
But anyway, that’s why the snow texture is a pain in the arse; even when you bitmap the texture of a real photo of snow, it’s never going to capture the play of light and shadow just right, because some of that light is passing *through* those curves and bends in the snowpile, and just doing a texture wrap isn’t going to work unless it’s an exact match for both the copied and the mapped shapes…including the angle of the lighting involved.
(I got nothin’ on the tree positionings. *shrugs* I grew up in western WA, which simply does not have open forests; around here, you get so much underbrush, it’s hard to move through the wilderness unless you’re following a game trail. So I don’t know if that’s realistic or not, though I don’t see why not.)
“I grew up in western WA, which simply does not have open forests; around here, you get so much underbrush, it’s hard to move through the wilderness unless you’re following a game trail. So I don’t know if that’s realistic or not, though I don’t see why not.”
That is true for the wet side of the mountains in Washington and Oregon, Jean. On the eastern slopes of the Cascades one does see the sparse tree growth in many areas. Also, even on the wet side, at the timberline, the trees thin gradually, and the raiders’ patrol *does* seem to me to be near the tops of whatever ridgeline they are following. You are correct about W. Washington terrain lower down, though. Ever since the tribes lost their lands, or their lives in the epidemics, no one has bothered to keep the undergrowth in check, and the wet side is a tangle at ground level.
You should try some areas of the Great Smokies, especially near the site of Chickamauga. It really helps explain the battle when you see trees and brush so thick there aren’t even game trails.
I don’t mean to start a debate or anything, least of all about snow (damn foul stuff) but I have lived in New England almost all my life and have seen many types of trees covered in the white crap. Depending on the time of the season and the temperature changes and wind patterns you can get some very weird looking snow patterns of all sorts of trees.
The texture is a different matter but once again that can be affected a lot by wind and especially by melting and refreezing on the tree limbs. Actually the first thing I thought of when I saw the first panel was that they were in an area that saw frequent long winters as the sunlight will “burn” strange patches into the snow on rocks and trees even when it is well below freezing. As far as I understand areas or years with short winters or rapid thaws do not usually show such patterns.
Just my two cents…
“Actually the first thing I thought of when I saw the first panel was that they were in an area that saw frequent long winters as the sunlight will “burn” strange patches into the snow on rocks and trees even when it is well below freezing.”
Yes, H2O has a finite vapor pressure right down to 0ºK, so even without a melt you can get patterns in the snow, often associated with patterns of shadow, especially at high altitudes where the UV is not filtered well. UV’s higher energy photons can knock water molecules from freezing to gas in a single step.
Check out the fanciful snow forms on pp 14-15 in Alaska, Decemebr2015/January 2016
Thanks for your answers. Which I shall try and answer in one go.
I did not realize that snow was that difficult to render, lady Jean, but I can very well accept that. (Actually, I more or less suspected that, because that’s JED here, so I asssumed there had to be an explanation for even slightly questionable quality.) Maybe the fact that my gripe was very minor did not quite register in the original comment: my bad if so, it only slightly hindered my enjoyment of the page.
As for real-life snow patterns on trees, Tom Billings and calisto, well, I live in a mountaineous area and have seen probably weirder stuff than what appears on panel 1. This is why I commented on reality vs. believability. I can accept that what we are shown here does happen; it is just that for some reason it does not look believable to me.
Allow me to try and narrow down why. Which would attempt to make the criticism constructive.
For one thing, on the bottom right side of the middle tree, the snow seems to bridge three limbs that are very distinct in height. It might happen, why not, but I cannot help feeling that the bridges should have been gone some time ago, what with the wind, the sun, and the gravity. Conversely, I have absolutely no issue with the weird mass atop that same tree.
Also, there are some limbs (the leftmost one in the tree on the right is the most obvious example) that appear to sustain a large mass of snow without bending. That I have a harder time to accept – unless, of course, a special law of physics applies to those specific tree limbs in that universe, similar to that which appears to apply to certain parts of female anatomy (and to which I do not object). But I disgress.
Last, maybe the ground is too flat. In my experience, fragmented snow on trees goes with heaps of snow at their feet.
There, I hope this can help at some point. If it does not, I will keep reading and commenting about my enjoyment of this superb story.
I think the main reason it might look unbelievable IS that the ground is flat beneath, where presumably the snow might have fallen in a mound, but you are also correct that the branches that have more snow on them do not seem more weighed down than the branches without snow. The actual mounds of snow on the branches seems fine to me, as I think that the wind so high up on the ridgeline would make for unusual patterns.
This is NOT meant as a complaint, but perhaps more in the realm of constructive criticism for future snow? Although, as Jean said, that might just be too advanced for the current software – at least not without eating JED’s entire life outside of this fic. Or burning him out – something none of us would want.
I would like to comment on just how well done I think Rannick’s dark blond is done considering the shadowing from the hood. And really, if Pontegar was smart, he would get himself a much closer fitting hood to hide that flame of hair. It makes him a target. But then, how would we recognize him so easily?
Ignoring the issue of snow, what I find fascinating is the extremely complex web JED is weaving. I am anxious to see how he’s going to pull together all these disparate story lines.
On that we are in complete agreement, sibling.
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