#74 – “My Heart Sleeps”


Right, so on what happened last sunday – my laptop (which is now my primary and was, at the time, only, computer) decided that USB is bad and subsequently refused to recognize anything USB. The thing not having any PS/2 ports either meant that I decided rather than brave touchpad-induced poor quality and fits of rage, I put it on hold until I could mouse properly. The USB ports were working just fine after the flight back though, so maybe it just didn’t like being away for the holidays.


This marks our third dream sequence, with the lighting situation fiddled with accordingly – this time using Volume Light rather than just doing everything in post processing. It’s not perfect, but it was fun to play around and test with. A great deal of the various expressions and camera angles were come up with on the spot as I had the situation there – having an actual environmnet – the inn – around makes picking camera angles a whole lot more native: no worrying about whether or not they’ll align with background images.

I like pages like this – it lets me play with and express the characters in a different sort of situation than the more more common lighthearted events; express things you usually only see faint hints of. Of course, the cast being who they are, we’ll be back on the road before long. Still, I’ll amuse myself with the character exposition while it lasts and hope it’ll be interesting enough.

Oh, and Happy 2009!


23 Responses to “#74 – “My Heart Sleeps””

  1. 1 typewriter
    January 1, 2009 at 11:45

    Glowing ear! =O

  2. 2 Nhani
    January 1, 2009 at 11:55

    Lighting side effect. The illusion is supposed to be that the light comes from behind, but then the volume-lighting backlight I added for the following frames didn’t quite have the same effect.

  3. 3 Arafor
    January 1, 2009 at 12:51

    Personally, I think the lesbian joke should be pulled as long as it funny. Nothing greater to joke about then sex in my twisted mind. And unfortunately the next last frame didn’t look like Hani was gonna get smooched.

    On a side note, it’s fun to see that your experimenting.


  4. 4 Vuk
    January 1, 2009 at 22:56

    It seems I can’t shake the feeling this comic has some feministic lesbo propaganda shaped around it… I mean, practicaly only one man in complete series (that pala), and he acts like a complete wuss. This doesn’t go along with the night elves and there strong moral code and views that go with Warcraft lore. If you wanted to do something like this, Blood Elves would be much more suitable…

  5. 5 Ilyara
    January 2, 2009 at 01:24

    Real feministic lesbo propaganda is being shaped around far too many comics these days. You should check out the guys in this comic:


    They are real guys; and by real, I mean totally sweet.

    On the other hand, I personally thought that there was something touchingly maternal/affectionate about this episode of the comic and I think Tyrande represents a lot of things to the Night Elf populous as a whole, especially as she is at the apex of the matriarchal society. Dreams, of course, tend to be more about the Dreamer than the individuals portrayed in the Dream.

    That’s a good point about the matriarchal society though: even the Sentinels, the principle organisation in Hani’s past and this comic, are entirely female. In fact, come to think of it a waking society that’s been run and dominated by women for over ten thousand years might even be *slightly* feminist. I wonder what strong moral code the Night Elves philosophy is best compared with: Christian? Buddhist? Humanist?… There’s so many it’s confusing ^^’ it’d be so much easier if they had their own different one.

  6. 6 Tia
    January 2, 2009 at 01:25

    Tyrande is so motherly in that dream, its really a lovely image.

    Well Vuk, Night elven society is rather female oriented, there haven’t exactly been a lot of male character around so far. That and the entire clergy and the sentinel army are female based. So far beyond the tree has been rather nicely lore based if you ask me.

  7. 7 Vuk
    January 2, 2009 at 02:24

    Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage, Archdruid Fandral Staghelm, Valstann Staghelm, Captain Jarod Shadowsong, Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest, Lord Desdel Stareye…. They are just a few mentioned high ranking Night Elf nobles who showed their mental and strenght during the turbulent NE history… And, as you can see they are all males ;) Yes, Tyrande Whisperwind is the official ruler, and sentinel defenders are all females, but they have family-like, sisterly relations, and they even call each others sisters… Sadly, these days, even this can create all kinds of perverted thoughts… :(

  8. 8 Nhani
    January 2, 2009 at 05:30

    I’ve been contemplating back and forth a great deal how or whether I should even respond to this particular thread of discussion since I haven’t quite been able to decide what I could, or should, say.

    Now, I admit that Beyond the Tree has gained what could probably be considered a very feminist vibe as a result of its cast and that there’s certainly the odd moment where I throw in a few hints of LesYay either played straight or for giggles.. seeing the topic come up in response to a page that has none of it is just plain perplexing.

    The prior two “Tyrande Dreams” have definitely had a hinted LesYay context, with the second one being downright blatant about it and intentionally so. This third dream on the other hand is very deliberately different, with both the setting with location and lighting as well as the meaning of the words said being of a whole other nature. The whole point in that is to raise the question of why, and from asking that hopefully gain some greater insight into how Hani Foonmall is as an individual – especially as all of the dreams so far share a common purpose and reasoning.

    The story as it has been played so far couldn’t have been played the same way with Blood Elves. At all. Blood Elves have so different inner conflicts going on inside, so different motivations and pasts that the core duo would’ve been nothing like the way they’re now if they’d been built as Blood Elves, even if constructed out of the same underlaying framework.

    Here’s the thing, though: while Hani Foonmall is very much a Night Elf, no other Night Elf is Hani Foonmall; to be fair, at this point I thought it was rather blatantly obvious that Hani isn’t exactly the role model Night Elf. One of the core elements in Beyond the Tree – as described on WoWwiki – is about not fitting in, and finding a place for oneself in a world that seemingly has none.

    The Credo is Character First and I intend to stick to that; while I do try to spend atleast some time trying to treat potentially controversial topics with some kind of dignity and respect to avoid the worst of it.. some such topics will be treaded and I know very well that no matter what I do, some people will find political messages no matter what.

    As for Delgren, I’d actually like to speak up on his defense: in the Beyond the Tree continuity he has not only helped the Sentinels defend Maestra’s Post against a large cultist attack but has also helped – if not led – a group of Sentinels in rooting out a cultist force in northern Ashenvale Forest. Tinys’ spiteful tounge nonwithstanding, he’s actually rather stalwart and capable.

  9. 9 Arafor
    January 2, 2009 at 09:20

    For Vuks comment on “perverted thoughts.” I’m gay and have absolutely no interest in lesbians making out, so that fails. It merely amuses me that one part of Hani want to roll in the hay with the high priestess (of all people) and another part is all “WOOT!”

    I guess I have to agree that there isn’t all that many male characters. Or actually, there’s been plenty. It’s just that everyone of them except for Delgren have meet a swift and sudden death (by Hani) and therefor never got to tell even a part of their story.

    I don’t agree on blood elves being more suitable for lesbian relationships though.


  10. 10 Ilyara
    January 2, 2009 at 11:35

    I always rather liked Delgren: here’s a man on the frontier of his own culture and known civilisation, forging connections with strangers and aiding them in their lives. Honestly, I prefer the idea of paladins like him to the type that are all about the glory of leading crusades against the enemy. I’m sure it’s not always easy for him, or for the people around him, but he’s still there and is a better ambassador for his people and faith than you’ll find in Stormwind.

    Frankly, in this day and age, I think you’d have to be extremely bigoted to see anything controversial, or even political, in this comic. While I understand the need to deal with creative criticism, of any kind, I honestly think that defending against such absurd statements is counterproductive.

  11. 11 Yerdiss
    January 2, 2009 at 15:35

    Defence against bigotry is quite futile, I do agree. But sarcasm aimed at bigots can be great fun. So allow me to share an opinion. To all those that have yet to get to terms with the fact that after age 12, people sometimes have naughty thoughts, please remember that it’s not only quite normal. It’s actually quite droll to have to remind everyone you’ve “got an itch” at every possible opportunity. Really now, at least find a page where it’s applicable to add such comments. That way, we could settle with irony.


  12. 12 Ilyara
    January 2, 2009 at 17:35

    I’d never stoop to sarcasm ofc


  13. 13 Vuk
    January 2, 2009 at 21:00

    Wooow, I just throw in a couple of thoughts, and ppl start acting not only defensive, but rude, actually… And, as for my “bigotry”, hey, I’m Orthodox Christian, and yes, I find many things in modern world controversial, materialistic and un-moral, and I have full rights to express my feelings if I wanted to, BUT, this wasn’t the point of my first thread at all… All I was saying is that this kind of “LesYay context” just doesn’t suit Night Elven standards and Warcraft Lore. Was that so harsh that U ppl had to start with this offensive and ironic comments?… So, now any kind of criticism in this area has to be labeled “homophobic” and “bigoted”?… Hey, I just offered my opinion; if you didn’t like it, there is always a normal, peaceful way of debating the topic. Jumping on a first ball usually solves nothing… Oh well, as I can see this is going to turn into another: “bigoted” and “narrow-minded” Christians against the rest of the world, I’m signing out…


  14. 14 Yerdiss
    January 2, 2009 at 21:27

    Hey there, Vuk. Good to see that after the initial shock, we are actually talking. Indeed, my comment was rather rude, I could apologise for that. Maybe I will. But let me elaborate in a less-rude fashion now. You are entitled to your beliefs and views, gladly so. I do believe though that, most of the others and I that responded to this page with what you name ‘defensive’ replies, actually were intended to stress the actual lack of LesYay (strange name, but amusing in a way) content in this page. The fact that this page, which I simply adore for it’s emotional and sensative content, is debased by turning it into some kind of obscure fanservice ideal. Well, I just found that rather offensive myself.

    So to cut things short, I merely wanted the author and other readers to know that the opinion of “omg, more lez pages, this comic is so into the carnal, it’s so shallooow’ is not shared. That there are actually people that like this page because it shows a deep emotional connection between Hani and the figure of Tyrande, whom she obviously has strong feelings for (more than just LezYay, I dare say).

    That I used a sledge hammer to make my point? Truth, I did. Glad to see it came across ;) Cheers and cuddo’s. And please remember, we actually do value your beliefs.

  15. 15 Nhani
    January 3, 2009 at 01:28

    I don’t expect this to be a very constructive dialogue, to tell the truth. It didn’t start as constructive and it isn’t heading there. Trying to toss martyrdom all over it is just making it worse, really. Especially since the argument itself really seems to be about very shallow concepts, ignoring the elements at depth that are the actual important set peices.

    I am defensive though, yes – I was told that my interpretation of Night Elves – one I’ve built on, elaborated on and dwelved deeply into for several years over now is utterly broken with the only reason given being “morality”, and the obvious context given that it’s based on the morality of the one making the argument. That is not constructive criticism, it is arguably a rude and direct insult. People are free to disagree, naturally, but trying to flag the right to do so seems a tad moot when arguing against the right to answer back in turn.

    So I’ll give the topic a final run over and then consider the matter closed, because quite frankly I don’t see it developing.

    For one, I think Night Elven morality is quite complex, and possibly a fair bit different from how we think things. And to be honest here, out of multiple Night Elven characters I maintain or portray, there’s very few of them I’d completely morally agree with, especially with their willingness to end lives.

    Which brings me on to part two: arguing the morality of Night Elves based on the behaviour of Hani Foonmall or Rei Tiny is somewhat moot to begin with, since one of the most important points with both characters are how different they are. Hani is violent, Hani is sometimes downright callous and she’s ultimately a very flawed and troubled young woman. She’s obviously confused, angry and frustrated about her dismissal from the Sentinels – and yet this page exists to point out that in spite of all that.. she can’t bring herself to feel any of that to the one person actually responsible for her dismissal.

    And then let’s dwelve further into the subtext, shall we? We have here a situation where it’s implied that Hani Foonmall might have a desire to snuggle up against the High Priestess she’s been sworn to follow, while at the same time it’s also stated that said High Priestess is who’s behind her being dismissed from the Sentinels. Now I’m not saying whether this conclusion is what actually happened or not since I prefer to leave it ambigous, but has it dawned that these two points might actually be related?

    The perfect individual would have no need of the Hero Journey, nor would they make a very interesting story.

  16. 18 Moltrazahn
    January 3, 2009 at 05:20

    Totally quality page this one. I really like the eyes out of all in this page. They Really shine out of the page in their essesive glow and are allmost screaming out to the veiwer. As for the general “Glow” that seems to shine trough, it fits rather well at Tyrande, makeing her become in this page VERY important to the background of Hani, as she appears several times as more of a Mother to her then a leader. As on the matter of Hanis past, we know she was kicked out however this is a repeating proccess of mention in the story. But each time you get the feeling that she must have done something very wrong, yet did it for a reason which she thinks must be fair on some level. Else would she accept the disrespect from the other sentinels?

    At any degree, i like it. I aint one to complain over stuff like a glowing ear or so (no offence ment in that statement btw :P) i like the page. Good on my “Char-developement page” when compared to the entire BotT story. As for the “lesbian” thing, i doubt its enterly “that” which we are seeing. Freinds are often close too. As are Mothers and daughters however i do agree that at times my male mind does “conduct” connections that i doubt is there, so they are killed before given root :P

    I have no doubt that Hani loves the priestess Tyrande Whisperwind with all her heart, and in some way feel that she has betrayed that essence with her past acts (whatever they may be). But now im just stateing what all can see. Im excited as to were it goes really. So ill say good page, cant wait to see the next.

    ps: Hope you wont have more bad luck with the pc :)

  17. January 3, 2009 at 18:51

    I hate laptop issues…The hard drive crashed on mine, so I can’t really work on any comics until I get that replaced. :(

    And I’m happy to find another webcomic artist on WordPress. I thought I was the only one for a while! From what I’ve seen so far, I think I’ll be coming back. I like your style. I can’t do any of the nice computer rendering that you do, so I just stick to “traditional” hand-drawn comics.

    Keep it up! I’ll be back for more! :)


  18. 20 Vodric
    January 3, 2009 at 19:47

    Is there a pun/joke/reference/whatever in this comic’s title? The only thing I can think of is “My Heart Burns”, which is what the Rammstein song “Mein Hertz Brennt”, which is about nightmares, means in English.

  19. 21 Nhani
    January 3, 2009 at 20:04

    I was actually recommended by someone else to use WordPress.com as host, and it’s worked out well so far. Looking at the forums, it seems there’s actually a fair few that does use it as such. Personally, I can’t draw much at all, so I’ve been settling on standing on the shoulders of giants – so to speak – instead.

    As for the title, it’s actually a very simple and not very meaningful reference – one of Tyrande Whisperwinds’ voiced responses in World of Warcraft (I think it was present in WarCraft III too actually, though I’m not sure) goes “My heart sleeps in the emerald dream.” refering to Malfurion Stormrage. Since it’s Hani dreaming of Tyrande, I thought it’d be fitting, though I’d have to say your interpretation is definitely a whole lot more interesting ;)

  20. April 15, 2009 at 10:37


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Essential box of legalities

Beyond the Tree is based on (when not directly using) the art resources and story setting of World of Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment.

That and all related and/or registered trademarks are the property of Blizzard Entertainment and Beyond the Tree claims no ownership of these or any affiliation with Blizzard Entertainment but hopes they'll have a sense of humour and appreciate it all the same ;)


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