#180 – “A Matter of Guilt”

Right, it’s been long since I’ve put in this many panes into a single page. Ultimately, it took quite a bit longer than I expected to complete; the dialogue skirts a very careful line between implying the right things and implying the wrong things, and it’ll be interesting to see how exactly people read it; especially with added context that’ll only appear later.


16 Responses to “#180 – “A Matter of Guilt””

  1. 1 Aries
    March 4, 2010 at 20:50

    My take on it would be that while mortally wounded, was still alive, and Hani finished him, thus being the one who ACTUALLY killed him. Course its also entirely possible he was dead, and Hani is just taking the blame for it to assuage her guilt.

    Then there is the entirely differnt possibility that she is just starting a sentence. and is planning on elaborating on the terrible thing she did. Perhaps bringing Te into this place, and putting her in that position.

    Looking forward to the next page to see where it goes.

    Good page Nhani.

    • 2 Matthew
      March 4, 2010 at 22:28

      Based on normal Hani, I doubt she’s going to go into a story about something she’s done :( I doubt she’d take the blame either; I don’t really see her understanding the problems people face with killing others since it has been her way of life for so many hundreds of years. She probably just finished him off.

      • 3 Aries
        March 4, 2010 at 22:39

        the more i think about this though, i am leaning toward the latter there. Hani is a soldier, a former sentinel. She knows what it is like to go into combat with her sisters at her side. She knows they know how to take care of themselves, and how to handle it afterwards. Hani may have come to the realization, Te is not a sentinel, she doesnt know how to handle this, and Hani is the one who put her into this. So perhaps we have Hani putting on her elder sentinel hat here, and trying to help the rook through this.

        But then i could also be completely off base, thats just my thoughts at the moment.

  2. 4 Matthew
    March 4, 2010 at 23:00

    Hani probably does understand that Te is not a Sentinel, but I doubt that will show on the surface. Hani is a physical protecter; dabbling in emotions in a warzone would be a distraction, not a necessity. Killing happens, and Hani probably knows for a fact that more will happen; sheltering Te from this now by pretending to finish the Defias guard off would just block growth.

  3. 5 Matthew
    March 4, 2010 at 23:14

    Great page by the way. Hani reminds me quite a bit of Solid Snake though :S. Keep finding myself hoping for an “On the battlefield…” type speech when moral issues come up :P.

  4. 6 Agamede
    March 4, 2010 at 23:49

    Well Hani clearly finished the Defias guy off, taking out Te’s knife out in panel seven and preparing a two-hand thrust with the knife in panel eight. So my guess is that Hani’s message will be something like “I finished him, so stop moping around and blaming yourself”. She sees that Te has much problems with the idea that she has killed someone, so Hani attempts to take that feeling away in the most practical way.

  5. 7 Expala
    March 5, 2010 at 00:34

    It’s just like the end of Batman The Dark Knight with Hani being the Dark Knight so Tel doesnt have to feel guilt. This page was worth the wait =D. Great work as usual

  6. 8 Xel
    March 5, 2010 at 04:55

    Wonderful, wonderful interaction between the characters here. This is why Te’len makes such a great addition to the cast in BtT. The others already have their dark histories and backgrounds, but Te has no such hardships to relate to until we meet her in Ashenvale. Watching this character in particular develop through the story is proving to be immensely satisfying; Te’len maintains my pick for favorite character in this comic.

    I really liked the little jab she indirectly made at Hani and Areen about their murderous deeds so far in the story. It just goes to show that there is still a lot of unsettled conflict considering Hani’s and Te’s points of view. While it is certainly true to her character, it makes me apprehensive; I can foresee such a conflict becoming so built up that Te’len eventually leaves the group permanently. That is not something I would like to see, but I do know such tensions tend to be quite messy when they boil over.

    Overall this is a fantastic page, Nhani! Keep up the great art and writing.

  7. March 5, 2010 at 08:51

    If there is one thing i enjoy is character development, something you can see VERY well in this page. The loss of innocense (excuse spelling) and still fighting the good fight is a very hard step, one our druid friend doesn’t like to take. A good page with good character’s with good development on their personalities….what more can there be said?

  8. 10 Gordrake Thunderhoof
    March 5, 2010 at 10:38

    I did get a few nudges about Hani here and I can see where this is going, but I’ll be reserving myself for the next page, I think. This is a brilliant emotional thread, though, being weaved here. You got Tiny who’s instantly there to comfort Te’len (no doubt knowing full-well that Te’len is against all violence probably even before she told them as such), Areen who’s reacting as a Paladin would and then Te’len herself then explaining why she shouldn’t have killed the guy, why she didn’t want to even though that was how it happened. As I said in the previous page, this is her first serious kill and she’s not taken it well at all. In fact, I think Te’len explained it better than I did in the last page as well!

    …But then she knows what she’s going through. Kinda cheating, but legal.

    For the next page…I forsee all eyes on Hani on the next page. Clearly something is on her mind and sharing it is just around the page. And I am assuming she used that butter knife to cut away the roots pinning that guy to the wall? Personally I’d have left it up there. Scare some Defias tailfeathers. But I guess it’s scaring Te’len’s tailfeather right now, so…yeah.

    This is an amazing page though. Can’t wait for the next one.

  9. 11 Timber Wolf
    March 5, 2010 at 14:33

    Damn, Te’len is way to deep into keepin life sacred. I’m sure even his family (assuming he ever had one) understands the concept of self defense. Especially if they knew his career choice.

  10. 12 Bancduese
    March 5, 2010 at 21:10

    Seems like Te’len’s pacifism is now conflicted by her basic self-preservation action. I recognize this is all part of character development, but I hope she has enough good sense to realize that pacifism is not a real world option (even allowing this is a fictional version of a fictional world). That does not mean I want to see this druid turned into a mean lean killin’ machine, but if character development is to be true, she must come to terms with her actions.

    Otherwise, Tiny will be weeping over a very dead Te’len at some point in the future and probably not that far off either. Mercy is a wonderful quality, one that should be praised and practiced but it should not be such a quality that it leads to defenselessness and that is where Te’len’s current line of reasoning heads.

    As to Hani actually finishing off the Defias gangster, I would think that truly matters little to Te’len’s point of view. She–Te’len–tried her very best to kill the fellow (even if it was more an instinctive reaction) and if Hani actually finished it, it was more in the way of a mercy killing to end suffering. Where that dagger was implanted left no hope (other than healing magic that none of them seemed to want to provide) for his survival very long.

    Actually my first instinct on Hani’s words weren’t that she was going to claim Te’len’s kill as her own to alleviate guilt on Te’len’s part, but rather to own up that she had made a mistake in ever letting Te’len become associated with her. That an innocent like Te’len has no place at all in such rough company and such dangerous circumstances.

    Now that I have gotten all that off my chest, many kudos to you for a wonderful page today. It was surely one of the best ones you have done yet. It was very thought provoking and an excellent study in morality all condensed into a single page.

  11. 13 Yerdiss
    March 6, 2010 at 11:14

    Te’len’s reasoning is actually a sign that she has the makings of quite the able leader and visionary. Part of what she relays seems to be the ‘philosophy’ that killing a bad man might stop him from doing bad things. But turning a bad man into a good man might have him perform miracles of good some day. (Combined with the notion that nobody is evil incarnate. All are living beings that are capable of both good and bad).

    She killed a bad man. Regardless of how difficult this fact alone may be for her, she denied him his rise to greatness. She denied him a chance to redeem. On top of that, she cut short any good he has already grafted onto this world. To the person that (instinctively) realising that killing the wicked should be the last resort, not the first, an act of self defense is a terrible act.

    If this is so, the bargaining and anger parts of her grief would probably add an element of anger aimed at the victim for forcing her hand. Aimed at him for not offering another way out of the situation.

    In line of this, the “bad begets bad, good begets good” viewpoint seems to be applicable on Te’len as well. This would lead to her feeling that killing this man instead of offering him a way to a better life, has made the world not a better, but in fact a worse place.

    I fully agree with Bancduese on the point of development. We have gained a viewport on the path she must follow, and even though it might branch out a lot, seeing her follow that path and make the hard decisions that are needed in order to grow, will ,make for some very pleasant reading ,-)

  12. 14 Frostsaben
    March 6, 2010 at 15:42

    To be honest I can understand why Te’len is acting like that, but on the other hand, I would have killed that guy myself even not in self-defence because he was a killer, a thief and a thug, and if he wasn’t, he still joined an organisation who is composed of said individuals.

    The Defias Brotherhood didn’t get their money for rebuilding Stormwind yes, but from there to making an organisation focused not on “paying back” the nobles who stabbed them, but on attacking some decent folk living peacefully in Westfall is a long way.

  13. 15 Germ
    March 8, 2010 at 04:55

    Haha, that guy got wtfpwned by, like, a lvl 12 druid.

  14. September 24, 2011 at 01:39

    Well two things can happen here on the negative side; She snaps and goes moonfire spammy or she goes further into denial.

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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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