#275 – “Missing Punchline”

I felt that it was important to clarify just why Te’len stuck with the group instead of just heading back to Kalimdor, in spite of clearly neither being happy with Stormwind nor all the violence, danger and death – and ultimately what she’s willing to sacrifice at this particular hook in the plot.

It’s sort of funny to reflect on how the entire visit to Stormwind was facilitated by punching out Staghelm – back then, I could believably picture him as a competent but misguided sort of politician with his priorities muddled through an obcession with his own grief, and a standing source of interesting schism within the Night elven society between those content with trying to heal the world again and those who felt it was about time the world gave them something back for their sacrifices. Of course, now we know he was just totally off his rocker and was directed around by a demon masquerading as the ghost of his dead son that only he could see.



25 Responses to “#275 – “Missing Punchline””

  1. 1 Sevin
    July 28, 2011 at 16:20

    Amazing work as always :D

  2. 2 bleeters
    July 28, 2011 at 16:28

    Indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Garrosh turns out to be possessed by the spirit of Mannoroth or somesuch nonsense at this point. Turning flawed-but-justifiable characters into foaming monsters is annoyingly popular these days.

    Anyway. I’d be interested in what kinds of repercussions they’re risking by opting to return, other than “more strongly worded exile”. Do Night Elves have prisons?

    • July 28, 2011 at 16:45

      Illidan Stormrage is very much under the opinion that they do.

      • 4 Fyrina
        July 28, 2011 at 17:14

        Mhm, difference is that in their society, they tend to be called “Dens” rather than prisons.

      • 5 bleeters
        July 28, 2011 at 19:49

        Mmm, this is true. Though he was something of a… special case, surely? Punching the arch druid isn’t quite up there with aligning with Sargeras and/or creating a second well of eternity.

    • 6 Nhani
      July 29, 2011 at 07:50

      According to Lore as it were, Night elves definitely have prisons – keeping watch over them is half of the duties of the Maiev-type (as opposed to the druid-type) Wardens. That said, I think crime is actually a very rare thing among Night elves as their society is largely based on doing their duty towards their people and the Eternals they follow, so imprisonment is quite possibly reserved for those who need time away from society before they can rejoin it.

      In this particular case however, in page #96, High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind specifically told the duo “Were it up to Arch Druid Staghelm, neither of you would see the open sky again for a very long time.”

  3. July 28, 2011 at 21:44

    Sigh indeed, Miss Nhani.

  4. 9 Rai
    July 28, 2011 at 23:55

    I’ve been an avid reader of your webcomic for a while now, this is my first serious comment. :) I also feel disappointed about Staghelm’s ‘betrayal’ and would have hoped for a more in-depth view of his story, rather than labelling him as nutters and throwing him into a raid. On that note, I have a question- are you going to follow the new lore of Cataclsym and base your comic on that, or keep it as it is?

    • 10 Nhani
      July 29, 2011 at 07:59

      The thing with Beyond the Tree is that it’s conveniently set a whole lot of years before Cataclysm – so long as I don’t go around declaring Staghelm to be completely sane and totally free of demonic possession and/or go kill off Deathwing or things like that, I don’t really have to do much of anything to work with Cataclysm.

      Of course, by now, the future of Beyond the Tree is likely to be slightly different already – the Furlbrows have already gotten to Stormwind so they’re unlikely to adopt Vanessa VanCleef and therefore also unlikely to be murdered for example.

      • 11 Drakan
        August 14, 2011 at 14:43

        Of course, there’s nothing to stop the Fulbrows getting to Stormwind and realising they REALLY don’t like cities … and even with the Defias taking the odd “tribute” they would be better off in the countryside on their own farm (even if they have lost the deeds to it)

  5. 12 LolDrood
    July 29, 2011 at 00:32

    Interesting dialog in 2 and 3, there. Either Rei is incredulous that Te’len would be coming with Hani, or Rei was not planning on going back to Darnassus.*

    Speaking of, Rei is surprisingly beast leggy for someone who sits around and is snarky all day. Maybe she has a tiny exercise bike she pumps for 4 hours at night while everyone else sleeps. That scenario makes me happy.

    *Point of order: Was Hani banished from Darnassus, or ALL the nelf lands in Kalimdor?

    • 13 Nhani
      July 29, 2011 at 10:52

      I think Tiny prefers being away from all the stuffy ancient elves and their tendency to overreact at the smallest faux pas. Banishment for punching up some ranting idiot who clearly deserved it? The nerve!

      Also, seeing how the duo were sent to Stormwind rather than Auberdine, it’s pretty strongly implied that Tyrande would rather they didn’t set foot anywhere in Night elven territory until she feels they can handle it without the risk of them punching uppety druids in the face.

  6. 14 BrokeWarlock
    July 29, 2011 at 01:31

    I haven’t seen it myself, but at a certain point in the Firelands dailies you get a quest chain that apparently gives you a look at Fandral’s past and is supposed to make him more sympathetic. I’m hoping it succeeds- he may have been an insufferable jerk (as I saw him), but I agree that his backstory and motives are weak.

    • 15 TgrHwke
      July 29, 2011 at 06:10

      It’s the Leyara chain that you get when you unlock the Shadow Wardens section of the Molten Front.

      • 16 Meradana
        July 30, 2011 at 02:21

        I think you actually unlock the chain after you get both the druids and the shadow wardens unlocked, as i have unlocked the shadow wardens but havent gotten to any “Leyara chain” yet…

    • 17 Nhani
      July 29, 2011 at 11:17

      I haven’t seen that case specifically (as my break from WoW began prior to the Firelands becoming available) but from what I’ve heard and read about it, it sounds like it’s just more of the same false pathos they put into the massive vortex of lore breakage they called the War of the Shifting Sands. Sure, his son died and he had his moment of grief, but then Blizzard had Knaak tell us he was perfectly calm and nice and friendly prior to the whole demon bit, suggesting that he’d gotten over or at least found some peace and control in the following thousand years since then. And the whole business with his granddaughter only seems to fit in after he’d already wandered off the straight and narrow into lala-land.

      Of course, combined with all this, we’re both told that he’s insane to the point of being a rambling, gibbering loon, while he’s also clearly lucid enough to be fully aware of his actions and their consequences.

      I don’t think there’s any salvaging his story at this point.

    • 18 LolDrood
      July 30, 2011 at 02:26

      I find myself more and more appreciative of Staghelms policies, though I still don’t like -him- that much.
      Let’s face it; WoW’s writers suck, and are incapable of writing females as anything other then a 1950’s sitcom. And unless they figure out that WC3 Tyrande and WoW Tyrande are diametrically different people, Staghelm was the only Nelf leader with the correct response to Cata’s Horde Wehrmacht.
      Hell, Staghelm has more in common with WC3 Tyranda then WoW’s Tyrande does. Get back on your MurderCat.

  7. 19 Shayelee
    July 29, 2011 at 14:06

    The whole Staghelm storyline left me less-than-impressed with the lore. I would have fished a bit more depth to make the story more believeable. But regardless, I have had some of the best RP experiences in WoW because of this one NPC.

    To start off with I just wanted to be on the side of a “stupidly obvious bad guy”. Other player druids were holding their breath for Malfurion to come back, so it surely was a challenge to gather some druids in defending him against the accusations of him poisoning the sentinels and convincing an IC newspaper to not run a story about it. I liked his harsh attitude towards us random adventurers (though he could have kept his dislike towards Tyrande a bit more subtle :). I even enjoyed the start of the Hyjal questline where Shayelee still could only see him as an old broken man. “Keep faith, Shan’do. I will come for you!” Shayelee yelled after him and Alysra departed.

    It will be interesting, form the character point of view, to be soon standing facing the old Shan’do. Will she choose not to fight? Will she kill him to prove her loyalty to the Moonglade druids? So much fun can be gotten out of one badly-written NPC. Yay!

  8. 20 Adam
    July 31, 2011 at 19:58

    Gotta love Character Development that strips away any meaningful Character and leaves 2D villains… right? .. right?

  9. August 2, 2011 at 03:34

    I had taken a bit of a break from WoW and just came back to see the new stuffs around Hyjal, and did you notice there are several very important Moonfall NPCs Nhani? (i should probably assume i am not the first to point this out)

    • 22 Nhani
      August 2, 2011 at 08:41

      Those two bring the total count of night elven NPCs named something Moonfall introduced in Cataclysm up to four – there’s also a Sentinel that we see in both Teldrassil and Darkshore, and a bare midriff male with a gambling debt in Stranglethorn.

      None of them look in any way similar to my particular Moonfall though, so I find it far more likely that someone at Blizzard realized the combination makes for a decent name (just as I did a whole lot of years ago) and then has kept reusing it in places than that it’s somehow a reference or anything.

  10. 24 Amoranta
    August 2, 2011 at 12:11

    Your use of lighting and character expressions have improved drastically since the first few pages. This is beautiful, and you REALLY have a knack for telling a good story. :x The plot is amazing and.. and.. it’s great! I’m glad I procrastinated on dailies (and probably a few battlegrounds and my zandalari.. xD;) to get caught up with this, and I can’t wait for more!

  11. 25 Moltrazahn
    August 4, 2011 at 07:28

    Missing punchline… oh.. har har har, i see what you did there :D

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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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