Friday, October 16, 2015

The Classic: Volume Six

Volume Six of Errant Story is the final chance to avert everything that will happen in Volume Seven, and of course doesn't avert it at all.  I know that makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

Throughout Volume Six, there are chances to make alternate decisions, easy decisions in fact.  And I don't mean ones from the various government agencies involved, as they are dead set to do what they will and while it wouldn't have been good, it certainly wouldn't have been what occurred.  No, the real decisions all came down to two people:  Sarine and Ian.

Ian's path is probably the most straight forward as he's been kind of deteriorating mentally for some time.  He's going nuts, and I think he knows it.  What control he has managed to lead him back to Leah and Riley (I think this is the last time they show up in the comic BTW) for a brief recovery.  For a moment he even wanted to go back to the healing thing, which nearly killed him last time but he's come around to the idea of not dying while doing it so that's good.

Then the bombshell comes that some of the people he healed the first time reverted, and at least one died.  I emphasis "some" because many, including Leah, are just fine.  Still, this is enough of a blow to Ian's already fragile mental state, so he decides if the only thing he's good for is killing, then he's going to kill people who deserve it, the Elves.  Once he decides on this path, betting that the's going to be killed in the process, he's off and that's all she wrote.  He could have not done this, of course, if someone, say Meji, had been there to slap some sense into him, but without a tether to keep him grounded (and now I'm mixing metaphors, I think), he might have been able to recover at this point.  He didn't, instead giving into his despair and rage.

The tragedy that forms the basis of Volume Seven is thus in motion, but the other half of the equation is Sarine, and for her the path was more desperation and atonement.  I wrote in the Retrospective that despite the title and every other indication, I think this comic is more about Sarine than anyone else, and this volume really gets to the point.  Meji, Jon and Sara likely would have walked away if Sarine hadn't been pushing them forward, even if not directly.  Sarine is desperate to prevent a massive tragedy, and despite the disdain she has for her own people, she doesn't want them to get all killed.  Yet every decision they make, to her, seems like they want to get themselves killed, or worse.

She has been constantly haunted by the events of the Errant Wars, and her role in it.  The fact that she preferred to leave her people and be a stranger in the world says a great deal about how she felt about it.  It's clear she tracked errants, but actually investigated them, tried to figure out if there was an issue then she killed them if necessary.  It's gotten to her, and she's trying to undo the damage in some small way.  She's the only one looking to talk to Ian, even knowing how he feels about elves in general.

To this end, she begins a process of trying to talk the rest of the Elves out of, um, raiding god's tomb, then finding ways to convince them not to raid god's tomb, to just trying to get there first to keep them from raiding god's tomb.  I should note that Sarine has a lot of plans, and rarely do they go well at all.  When the talking doesn't work, she starts sacrificing things, starting with her loyality to the Elves as a whole, asking for asylum and hoping her information will, again, stop this from even happening.  When that doesn't work, she gives up personal mementos as bribes to keep things moving along just so she has a SHOT at stopping all this before it happens.

In the end, she even has to kill one of her friends and fellow rangers, Sarna and why couldn't they have names that don't look so similar with the font they use?  Dear god that could be confusing at times.  In any case, she continues to aim towards a higher end, but her actions move the players in ways they might not have done so without her machinations, or attempt at them anyway.  This lines everything up in such a way that when Ian finally bursts through the ceiling with Anita and an army of the undead (yeah, he's building one), things are going to go from bad to worse very quickly.  Though they also have a chance now, where before, there would just be a lot of dead elves.

Jon follows Sarine because he's in love with her, Sara follows because Jon is going and Meji goes along because she wants to save Ian, somehow.

And of course, the final scene has an elf mage trying to absorb Senilis, and that guarantees Volume Seven as a whole.

The final push to this ending is a bit frantic, but methodical.  The steps are there all along, and they seem to move quickly, but really it's not so much.  I think, and I could be wrong, but while there are more chapters, I think there are less pages overall through Volume Six, which makes it seem to go by much faster than it would have otherwise.  It helps that most of the dialog is unnecessary.

My last note here is that this is where a lot of filler strips, mostly featuring Bani and Sara, start popping up.  Poe had a lot of issues come up during this period and pushing into the next volume:  first his father died, then he nearly died in a car accident, then his WIFE nearly just died in something that is the most dramatic thing I have ever seen (she survived) so the fact that not only was Errant Story still updating, but Does Not Play Well With Others was going at the same time is just damn amazing.  The filler strips don't take that much away from the story, though they do pop up at inopportune moments, but it's clear keeping the coming going was the main goal, even if it wasn't the main story as such.

Next time, the end of Errant Story, but not the end of The Classic.  Until then kiddies.

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