And so our prologue draws to a close – but the story is just getting started! We’ll be posting the title image for Chapter 1 on Wednesday to tease next Saturday’s page, so swing on by then to catch a glimpse at what’s in store!

This page, like many in the prologue, went through a number of revisions before we hit this layout. The general theme has remained consistent – showing the Ermehn warrior, Hardin, as a catalyst for events to come. Even the page layout has remained similar, with the left portion divided into three smaller panels and the right portion fully showing Hardin within the environment. The original draft, as you can see below, had a completely different composition, however. There we see Hardin sitting on a large boulder, deep in thought as his fellow Ermehn rest peacefully around him.

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It accomplishes some of the same things, but the space for the left 1/3 wasn’t used as well as it could have been, and Hardin’s pose didn’t seem to read as well as we’d originally hoped. He seemed almost relaxed in the older version, and with his fellow Ermehn warriors asleep around him, the scene just didn’t work. If we wanted to sell the foreboding of Hardin’s presence in the story, we’d need to re-evaluate the page.

The new layout builds off of the zoom-in from the previous page, giving Hardin’s actions here an air of mystery. Instead of pondering the future ahead of him as he was in the old draft, he is sharpening his knife now, actively preparing for the events to come, instead of passively awaiting them. The simple act of him sharpening his knife, alone, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the forest, speaks much better of events to come than the old version of this page did. Rachel also gave those side panels an extra 1/3 of the page to properly show events.

Hardin himself is an enigma at this point in the story, but his role in events to come is undeniable. For now, though, we must leave our troubled Ermehn warrior behind and shift our focus to Sunsgrove, where a new Tamian captain has just been promoted…

This week, we’re also going to be trying something new! If you have any fan-art based on “Beyond the Western Deep”, we’d love to see it! Just send it to thewesterndeep (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll post it when a new page goes up! This week, the honor goes to Sawyer Ruzzin, who drew us this awesome picture of a Canid warrior!

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Thanks, Sawyer! He looks great! Really liking the scarf/shawl he’s got here – along with the simple chest armor piece. Not all Canid feel comfortable traveling this lightly-armored, but it’s hard to walk very far with a suit of their usual plate mail. If you’re traveling anywhere in the Four Kingdoms outside of the Canid kingdom of Aisling, chances are you’d see them dressed like this – favoring comfort over armor.