Time to meet the first two races of the Four Kingdoms!
Seven races, four kingdoms. Obviously every race doesn’t control its own kingdom, and the Ermehn is one that goes without. Driven to the Northern Wastes by the Canid during the war, they now struggle to survive in the inhospitable environment. They’ve since split into tribes and fight savagely for whatever resources they can. The Wastes have no time for the weak, and the Ermehn themselves are just as harsh.
The Canid set up their kingdom of Aisling, after winning control of their land in the war from the Ermehn. Theirs is a militaristic kingdom which has been very diligent in replacing all evidence of Ermehn civilization with its own. It is better to keep the Canid as an ally, because the alternative is not exactly recommended.
This page has changed a lot from the original draft that we did back in 2008 or so, but the general staging of the Ermehn and Canid panels have remained similar. In the Ermehn panel, Hardin (who will be formally introduced later on) is standing on a large rock overlooking the Wastes while his fellow warriors wait below. In the Canid panel, a commanding officer lectures his underlings (likely about the importance of the Ermehn threat). The positions of the Ermehn are meant to feel scattershot around their panel, while the Canid are rigid. The Ermehn have a natural, dynamic backdrop, while the Canid have their gray stone wall. These themes are brought out a lot more in the page now, but were always present for the most part in earlier drafts.
The thumbnail for this page makes the “freeform vs rigid” elements a little clearer, particularly when the background elements are reduced to simple linework. The Ermehn and the Canid live in a world of opposites, and represent very different things in the story, so establishing a visual language for the two races that is consistently at odds was a very important element. We also wanted to take this opportunity to introduce a few characters that will become more important as we move past the prologue, so this was a good jumping off point for establishing how some of the characters would look in later pages.