#124 – “That Terrible Illusion”

And thus, Great Te’thulhu awakens from her ancient sleep. Te’thulhu ftaghn! I’a Te’thulhu! I’a! I’a!

*ahem* With that over with.. I’ve been slightly concerned with how dark this page is, but in some ways I think it needs to be. While I do like some of the thematic feel that a dark setting provides, as well as how much it makes night elven eyes really stand out.. I do prefer the bright light of day time – it’s really alot easier to light properly.

Also, for the record, the page title likely won’t make all that much sense to you if you’ve never played Legacy of Kain: Defiance.


31 Responses to “#124 – “That Terrible Illusion””

  1. 1 Frostsaben
    July 8, 2009 at 22:58

    Seems now everyone has a sleep problem, from Hani’s nightmares now Te’len has sleeping problems too… bet Tiny is sleeping like a log though.
    The night elven eyes look very nice in my opinion in these more dark pages, reminds me of the page with Hani’s dream. Plus, night elves are night-walkers anyway which makes me wonder, why don’t they try to sleep more during the day?

    • 2 Ilyara
      July 9, 2009 at 00:51

      I think, as with players from other timezones in the game, there has had to be a degree of adaptation to fit into the lifestyle of other races: I can imagine a number of night elves who shift their sleeping patterns the same way night and evening workers do, either wholly or in part.

      Certainly, I envisage that my character prefers the night, but she’s learned to get up and go to bed early, on a daily basis.

  2. 3 Skyll
    July 8, 2009 at 23:09

    Compared to the earlier stages of the story, when you were testing stuff graphically, but also playing around more with questlines and character building, I really think that you’ve managed to give the story some muscles and underlying tenderness, a sense of essence.

    I mean, the Hani we saw in chapters 1-3, basically at least, was much less troubled, but I guess you chose to not accentuate her inner battles yet. And the same for Te’len until now. Chapter 4 has by far been the most giving, dramawise and for true character building.

    I really love following this story, albeit that it moves very slowly. It may. I really just hope you wont just give up on it until you reach your own end for the story!

    And just a small personal wish, that might go against the other readers:
    You don’t need to make the story overtly funny, I think. With small puns at the end of pages.
    I know it helps to alleviate tension and whatnot, but it also feels like a repeating way
    of ending pages. Like last page, 123, when Te’len facepalmed. I’d say she’s been doing that
    an awful lot lately. It might have been your idea to do it, and I wont battle you on that,
    but I just wish for some more variety there. Jokes are nice, all in all.

    Now then. Well wishes!

    • 4 Nhani
      July 10, 2009 at 05:35

      Some actions repeat because some characters repeat – I tend to think of Beyond the Tree as “lighthearted but serious” – it’s not purely a humour thing nor purely a story thing but rather a character thing: most humour comes (or should come) from the characters being themselves, as should most other things as well.

      Taking #123 as example, the situation itself is meant to be amusing in an awkward way – there’s no real punchline to it, Hani, Tiny and Te’len all just react to the situation in their own way. Of course, it’s also meant to say something deeper than that about the characters and their interaction in particular. Te’len facepalming is meant more as the way she naturally reacts to the situation.

      I am aware that some of the page ends are fairly repeating, particularely the “walking away” one – most of the time that’s because I don’t want to stop a page mid-beat – due to the gradual per-page update schedule, I try to make each page contained in some way, or atleast hit as much of an end beat or cliffhanger as much as possible.

      • 5 Skyll
        July 10, 2009 at 06:33

        Yes, I should have remembered that, you mentioned that not so long ago in a comment. You are well within your right to form the comic, and I think I understand the limitations that this medium expects and works through.

        Again, I highly appreciate Beyond the Tree :)
        Keep it up!

  3. 6 Ilyara
    July 9, 2009 at 00:53

    I don’t understand the reference, but I love the atmosphere and ambiguity here: I have more questions now ^^

  4. July 9, 2009 at 00:56

    Hey Nhani,..

    A nice job done once again,..
    i like both the daylight pages and the darker nighttime pages.
    It`s just a little harder sometimes to make out the little details,..
    Speaking of,.. I`m guessing thats Tiny laying on the that pillow.
    to bad there isn`t a shot of all 3 of them laying in bed, i`m curiouse how it would fit.

    I`m gussing that facepalming is kind of a habit of Te’len.
    I like it,.. it gives more of a personality to her,.. i mean, everyone has their own habits and little kwirks.

    Like i said a while ago, i`ve put on a link to your site on mine.
    Could you give it a look and let me know if it`s alright this way?

  5. 9 Xsear
    July 9, 2009 at 05:29

    Te’len’s clothes look very weird in the last frame, is it just me who don’t understand what it’s supposed to look like? xD

    Otherwise, a great page, I like the darkness even though you don’t :P

    • 10 Iasion
      July 9, 2009 at 06:23

      I think it’s a night slip. She probably put her skirt away for the night.

    • 11 Aries
      July 9, 2009 at 22:42

      it might just be the sheet..still pulled over her waist

      • 12 Nhani
        July 10, 2009 at 05:18

        It’s indeed the sheet – on reflection, I probably should’ve made its presence more visible before she sits up.

      • 13 Yerdiss
        July 10, 2009 at 09:21

        (Couldn’t find the reply button on Nhani’s next comment, so I’ll sneak mine in here :P)

        Even though it is the sheet, the fact that it slightly resembled a night garnment made me realise that her having a kind of skirt-thingy for the night actually matched my notions of her. A kind of girly-meets-stylish combination, that perhaps she’s usually to shy to admit to like. (Yeah, I know, it’s silly how a resemblance of something triggers some odd leap into assumptions on a character, hee hee).

        Also, I found the darker page actually very likable. It adds to a intimate atmosphere. The darkness of night usually feels like, “few people are awake, but we are. The world is doused and hence what is left is us”. Hence, the page turns away from the big world and focusses more on the personae in it. Hope that makes sense :P

  6. 14 Iasion
    July 9, 2009 at 06:22

    This reminds me of that quest in Darkshore where you have to escort that bear druid to Ashenvale. He continually drifts into a deep slumber and you’re tasked with repeatedly waking him up as well as fighting off mobs.

    Man, that was annoying.

    Still, Te should find a nice spot on the floor and bear form>sleep like a rock. ^_~

    • 15 Arafor
      July 9, 2009 at 09:52

      Druids lives in constant fear of loosing themselves to their animal forms, something that’s mentioned on several occasions in the game. From what I’ve understood the danger is somewhat greater if you fall asleep while shape shifted.

  7. 16 saila aka wester
    July 9, 2009 at 14:43

    i see that you emulated or whats it called the woule bed.
    and yee i can´t figure our that tee´s clouth is supposed to be or if thats just the whats it called that on the bad and have Hani slept anything at all or are they sleeping in sift.
    and Ilyara your right there is time in game but we dont know if the planet spins exactly like our earth and round the sun in 346 and one quarter a year.

    • 17 Nhani
      July 10, 2009 at 05:39

      Hani’s been sleeping – what Te’len is doing in pane three is looking over to the other side of the bed only to see empty space where Hani should be.

  8. 18 Dsurion
    July 9, 2009 at 16:50

    Cthulhu and Legacy of Kain, in one comment? It’s too much I tell you, too much…but I got it. Am I really the only one who got the reference?

    At any rate…I bet they didn’t fit on the bed. If the doors were to small, I can only imagine what everything else is like.

    • 19 Nhani
      July 10, 2009 at 05:20

      “I still think Tony should be doing this in costume” -Simon Templeman (“Kain”), regarding fellow voice actor Tony Jay (“the Elder God”)

  9. 20 Vellane
    July 10, 2009 at 14:46

    Read your comic since day one, but thus far I’ve been content with others commenting and remained silent myself. But I just have to tell you that panel 5 might just be the greatest panel in ANY WoW-themed webcomic in months.

    Hop you have the energy to keep up the absolutely fantastic work!


  10. 22 Jalei
    July 11, 2009 at 18:56

    I have just come to find this comic and I am really enjoying the artwork and the story line.

    I do have one question about a pattern I have noticed that may or may not have been mentioned in a previous comment.
    Is there some reason why every single male character that enters this story is incompetent, rude, and piggish? I understand that your main characters are females and that you will naturally trend to their superiority, but come on. With VERY few exceptions, every villain has been an incompetent male. Anyone who needs a beat down by the strangely super elvish Hani has been male. The only people, in a group that just happens to contain a female baddy, that shoots of the retarded “You’ll regret that” speech has been male.

    Please stop me if I am wrong, but I don’t see the end to it. I don’t expect you to put in a male main just to even things out, but a semi competent male cameo would be nice once in while.
    And seeing Hani get hurt, or bleed when she takes on the entire villain camp is not too much to ask for either.

    My two cents. Take them if you want.

    • 23 Ilyara
      July 11, 2009 at 21:16

      This has come up before in comments about the strip and I’m going to chip in since you seem to be reasonable and polite and this is something I have a specialised and professional interest in.

      For starters, there is the issue of representation: at the moment there are no male main characters in the comic (I recall a comment that says we are due one later). In terms of supporting cast we’ve only had (this beginning in Night Elven lands) two principle examples. They are Paladin Delgren and Fandrel Staghelm.

      Fandrel Staghelm, in the lore, is a jerk. Delgren is, imo, a sympathetic male character trying to do his best in a foreign land. In my humble opinion there’s nothing to indicate he’s incompetent, rude or piggish. Yes, he get’s slagged off by Tiny and disdained by Hani. Tiny *is* rude and can be piggish. Hani is also clearly someone who it is very difficult to get on with; the type who takes a dim view of people who can’t help themselves, or do what she does, and who reacts without considering the consequence for others.

      There seems to be a strange tacit assumption that because the main characters say something, it must be true and/or representative of the author’s own views. People focus on the fact that Hani, like many other heros, is extremely deadly in combat against “ordinary” opponents, when it’s plain she has an array of character flaws that are driving this story. The fact she’s basically decent if misguided, is her redeeming feature: she cares a great deal about her friends and people.

      There are also some double standards at work here: I’ve read comics where the female characters are basically wallpaper and the male characters battle their way through hordes of opponents with relative impunity. This doesn’t mean the comic is misandric for fighting lots of villains, most of whom are male by practical and social convention, nor does it mean it’s misogynist for having essentially token female characters. Women still have poorer representation in comics as a whole, so I’d say it might lack some social responsibility, but having an interest in something is not the same as being negative about something else.

      The fact is that men have the more broad and diverse media representation compared to women, though it is far from perfect. The fact that this strip chooses to focus on female characters in equivalent situations to a number of fictitious male counterparts is not evidence of an agenda. There are a diverse number of positive male portrayals in media, so I don’t think there’s any social responsibility to protect male representation here, notwithstanding the fact that we’ve only brushed upon one nice guy given short shrift, and a canonical jerk, in terms of the male cast.

      So in short, your concerns are understandable but I think you are mistaken in making an equivalency assumption and confusing the narrative with a moral assertion.

      • 24 Yerdiss
        July 12, 2009 at 00:33

        Thank you, Ilyara. It’s very nice to see that all but one comment I myself had wanted to add in light of Jalei’s question, have been more than adequately answered by your post. This leaves me with only one chip to add.

        It is a bit of a subjective one, though. So I’ll leave it up to the reader to judge for themselves. Yet I do happen to know the author passingly, and my impression is that in creation of the story, the whole topic of ‘male vs female superiority’ did not even rear it’s ugly little head. In other words, the story has developed as it is now simply because the author tries to portray a story with themes that have nothing to do with that particular topic (male vs female).

        The tale seems to center around a personal story of a few protagonists (who’s genders even though irrelevant as a main theme, are important since it is a feature of their personae). The leading characters seem to be troubled individuals, who’s character flaws (by far) outweigh their merits. A team that has a _long_ way to go and _much_ to learn.

        Having been confronted by the question in some previous posts, I have noticed the author to have boggled in a manner that resembles the following: “Oh, oh dear, how can I make sure that people don’t get the wrong impression!”

        On a sidenote here, some people are too good, really. When a question is brought to berth concerning a topic that is not a theme of the tale, this would be ‘my’ answer: “Whatever the impression may be, the male vs female relationship is of no relevance.”

        Yet Nhani seems to have tried to get a good mixture of male vs female in the redshirt thug groups from that point on. Yet those groups are still thuggroups. Both males and femals in such groups (such as the defias) seem to have but one purpose: give a hint on what the hell is going on. It’s not their purpose in ‘life’ to be able or super. Roles that are relevant are (partly by accident and partly due to the lore-dictated matriarchical Night Elven structure) female… up to now. We do not know what will be (though I’ve read the hints that there will be a male protagonist added in future. And gossip has made me believe it’s one that I already like :)

        So all in all, my summary: It’s good to question possible themes. But sometimes, the answer can be quite simple. “Oh, yes. I see why you may get this impression. Yet it is not a theme in this story. Any resemblance is purely concidental”

        So to Jalei: Nicely noticed and do keep thinking! The way BtT can be food for thought is a great strength! And to Nhani: Don’t worry and tell your tale. If it’s a non-theme, it should not be forced into the story. Able, capable and likable males will show up when the story valids it. No need to force that.

        Imo, I actually find the current male sidecharacters like Delgren or Cravenrest to be both likable and capable. It’s just that they’ve not gotten much screentime, you know, being sidecharacters and all :P

      • 25 Nhani
        July 12, 2009 at 01:21

        Well.. since Yerdiss put it so well, I’ll just quote this one particular part: Whatever the impression may be, the male vs female relationship is of no relevance.

        I’m actually a little surprised how poor regard Delgren seems to be held in, even – considering not only has he garned enough respect from the local Sentinels that they let him hold a position of authority, but last we saw him he also all but manipulated Tiny into making the decision he wanted her to.

        As for male characters in the travelling cast, there is indeed one planned. The bad part is that you’ll have to wait as long as until Arc Two to actually see him – for reasons that will likely become obvious when we first meet him, he doesn’t really fit into Arc One.

    • 26 Jalei
      July 14, 2009 at 18:22

      Thank you for the time you took to give your thoughts on my question.
      I will definitely continue to read and enjoy the comic and look forward to a long run.

      And please note Nhani, this is in no way a comment on your abilities or person. The pattern just jumped out at me and I questioned it.
      Your readers comments concerning the question are much more concise and constructive than I would have guessed and that speaks volumes about your work and following.

      Thank you all.

  11. 27 Kaldo
    July 11, 2009 at 19:17

    Tiny is in deep sleep i see:)Not waking when someone is talking next to her:)

  12. 28 saila aka wester
    July 12, 2009 at 00:17

    and the 3 headed naga thing wasn’t counted i see.
    any way i think its just be cos of all the bosses bad guys in wow have even in game been male.
    at the moment and there is usually most bad guys are male in all kind of fictions and in real life and am prepared to get picked on the last one.
    then it come down the the simple structurer of the sociality / personality.
    and that is, don´t get offended here that male in general is more aggressive then the female part and all that kind of Physiological crab talk.
    and the spell error on cra* was intended

  13. 29 saila aka wester
    July 12, 2009 at 00:18

    this is my 4 thime reading the page and now i find Tiny sleeping the woule time on one of the pillows.

  14. September 22, 2011 at 00:19

    Last panel that bed has a face to it.
    _ _
    O O

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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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