Prologue - 006

Prologue - 006

Turns since TBfGK: 3

Maggie and Sizemore followed him closely. The wood-and-iron portcullises on both the inner and outer sides of the archway were retracted up into the massive wall. The swinging doors on the inner side were open and fastened to hooks embedded in the wall. At ground level, a contingent of 32 Decrypted pikers stood guard on the inner side. These were formerly some of Sofa King's finest. Many more troops occupied the ramparts and manned the defensive engines inside the two main towers.

As Parson and the Casters approached, the piker formation parted in a tightly drilled maneuver to let them pass.

Parson sometimes felt almost comfortable in Erfworld, but at this point things started to feel alien and surreal again. No-one said a word. His own shoes were quiet on the brick pavement, but Maggie's bootsteps echoed weirdly in the archway tunnel. To either side, stairs lit by magical candles led upward into the defensive complex within the walls. He heard the squeak and rumble of some huge wheel in the walls being turned.

The sunlight hit him as they reached the end of the archway and looked outside of the city. The view from here was right down the side of the mountain, looking over the switchback road and down to the fields and trees of the valley floor. A contingent of 8 sourmanders with riders was stationed on the road, in what must be the first hex outside of the city.

They saluted him. He gave them a little chin-up nod.

"You can see hex boundaries, right?" he asked his companions. "There's one right in front of us?"

"Yes, Lord," answered Maggie.

He squinted. "I can't, then. Didn't think I could. But..." He took out his paper glasses from a little pouch and put them on. "Aha." There was a clear line at the edge of the road by the archway. It wasn't lit, or even all that visible, but he was acutely aware of where it was. "Can now. Weird." That line felt almost dangerous.

Leaving the glasses on, he looked at Maggie. "When you walk into the adjacent hex, does it...what does it feel like?"

She pursed her lips. "Other than one's move going down, nothing Lord. You do gain a clearer view of the area within the new hex."

Parson looked out at the road. "I'm not aware of my move stat. If I have one, even. What about when you're out of move or it's not your turn, and you try to cross a hex boundary?"

"There is a sort of soft resistance, in an area about the width of a hand. It will cushion you, but will not let you pass through."

Parson smiled, his jaw slightly askew. "Should I take a running start, then?"

"Perhaps, Lord. It wouldn't be my preferred approach to the problem..."

Parson grinned and took a few steps into the shadow of the archway, bending his knees as if to charge. "C'mon. What's the worst that could happen?"

"You could explode."

Parson stood up straight. "Wait, what? That happens?"

Maggie's purple/red silhouette looked at him serenely. "I am learning to tell jokes, Lord. You've inspired me to explore my own capabilities."

Sizemore looked at Maggie with wonder.

So did Parson for a moment, until his face split with a big you-got-me grin. "Right. Nice," he said, nodding. "Maybe you'll even move up to good jokes someday. Eventually."

"Little steps, my Lord," smiled Maggie, nodding once. She cleared her throat. "Speaking of which..."

"Right!" said Parson, loudly and decisively. "Follow me!" he boomed in a command voice. He strode forward confidently into the sunlight.

And ran smack into the hex boundary, stopping cold.


Guest art by Pat Jacobs

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Obviously the basket was effected by the soft resistance while Parson wasn't, thus when he let go of it it took off like it was on a snapped rubberband.
yay wrote:
besides the enigma of parson's move, two thing caught my eye.

why are the pikers guarding the gate? they would know if anyone was in the battlespace to attack, so is it just for show?

"troops manning defensive engines" what are those exactly? catapaults, boiling oil, magical defense's like those used to take out the RCC's air units?

Is there a mechanism for a sneak attack of some sort? Surely no side needs guards during its turn, we don't really know the mechanism or order of events for an attack. GK never had a gate before; if they're going to be leaving it open then guards may not be a bad idea. For all we know there are some more dangerous animals that could pop too; perhaps even a random (if ineffectual) barbarian attack could also occur?

A lot of things that militaries do are for show.
spriteless wrote:
Obviously the basket was effected by the soft resistance while Parson wasn't, thus when he let go of it it took off like it was on a snapped rubberband.

I think it's odd that everyone is assuming because of the words "ran smack into" that Parson didn't encounter the soft resistance expected. If I place a pile of pillows against a wall and charge into them, I'll run smack into them and stop cold. That doesn't mean I hit a hard surface, they're still pillows. He didn't "crash into it and hurt his face" or anything, and Maggie just told us that the boundary was soft... I think Rob would have been much more explicit if Parson ran into something less gentle than we'd just been told to expect.

That's my only beef artistically too, since I think Gentle made that same assumption and I don't think it's correct. Otherwise, fun drawing.
Is that a tooth flying out of his mouth? Does that mean Parson is going to show the erfworlders what actual bleeding looks like?

First just wanna say thank you to the compliments, it is always nice to hear. Secondly I wanted to explain the drawing a little. Nope, not a toof. Supposed to be spit, but combined with bad art and the image being resized to fit the page it really does kinda look like it doesn't it? Cloudbreaker, that is a interesting point. It is something that I never really thought of...who knows? I really expected Parson to have who knows what else effects him. Hopefully we don't have to see our favorite protaganist stabbed to find out :(

The picture is guest art, and in no way can I speak for Rob Balder or Jamie Noguchi. Just a fan who got a very cool oppurtunity. I look foward to seeing the other artist that Rob picks, and what they do with their interpertations. That is a good word too...interpertations, I read what ya'll read, so I had no inside info. The troops thing kinda bothered me too, but I just drew what was read. They might be marching back in forth between the internal and external gates, or maybe they are protecting the courtyard from tunnel attacks while the sourmanders are on look out? That or 32 troops wanted a place to hideout from their officers and are the look out for a rear sneak attack. I would be doing the latter :)

I chose to draw Parsons reaction to the boundry that way, 'cause it is silly. Same for the basket. Also he took determined strides towards it, bravado in the face of certain embarrasement. Rob didn't descirbe Parson as moving slowly and cautiously. I'm a klutz and I walk into stuff all the time, and even if the obstacle isn't exactly hard I'm sure I have a redunculus expression on my face, even though I'm not hurt.

This was fun. I am very happy that I was asked to do a piece. I've been following webcomics for awhile now, and very few and far between does the creator let the fan base participate. How awesome is this? Welp, I will get off my soap box, I hope I helped the titans and entertained ya'll for a bit. Thanks for being open minded and not blasting the fragile ego of an artist.
"And ran smack into the hex boundary, stopping cold."

GenuityX wrote:
... Nope, not a toof. Supposed to be spit, but combined with bad art and the image being resized to fit the page it really does kinda look like it doesn't it? ...

Oops, my mistake. I did enjoy your depiction of the scene though. :)
DevilDan wrote:
"And ran smack into the hex boundary, stopping cold."


That's kinda my point. That would just as aptly describe running fast into a firm barrier with 10cm/4" of soft padding on it. There's no reason to assume the hex boundary affected parson differently than it would have affected anyone else.

"And ran smack into the foam mattress, stopping cold"

Does this imply the mattress is hard?
Three possibilities: First, that Parson is a Garrison unit or has zero move for some other reason. I doubt if this is the case, if it were he should not have been able to enter the portal into the Magic Kingdom. If this is the case, he might be able to mount a Sourmander --or some other mount appropriate for a heavy unit--and leave the city.

Second, it wasn't Gobwin Knob's turn, so nobody had move. If this were the case, you'd think Maggie or Sizemore would mention it--but they might not realize Parson is lacking this fundamental aspect of Erf, and assume the Warlord knows something they don't. If they just wait for another turn--Parson could try again.

Third--it could be because Stanley ordered Parson to do things inside Gobwin Knob (as mentioned later). It may be possible for Parson to shirk his duties, but impossible to directly disobey by leaving. We know from earlier orders--"you will laugh at all my jokes--" that Parson is incapable of disobeying a direct order. The line felt dangerous, and disobedience would certainly be dangerous. Parson could probably convince Stanley to order him out of the city. It would certainly be worth a turn of increased production to figure out what Parson's abilities are.
Good ideas, but I think you're a bit off, at least on the first two. It can't cost any Move to use the portal, since Parson and the linked casters used it on Ansom's turn in the climax of Book 1. Also, it was presumably GK's move when Parson tried to leave - we see it end in update 30. It's possible that Parson tried to leave before GK's turn even started, but he knows that move naturally drops to 0 at the end of turn...doesn't seem like a very fair test to set up.