June 3rd, 2013

I would congratulate Xira on being more of a gentleman than her other guyfriends but that's not setting the bar very high.

Vote for Runewriters and get an extra doodle! :"D This one checks in on Severian.




Vote Incentive for This Comic.

Comment by rainycity1

Tareth is certainly getting a lot of practice talking. I'm not sure she's even noticed.

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posted at 12:30am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Tehbeefer

Yeah, and even in just the short time we've seen her she seems much more assertive, even if just by necessity.

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posted at 11:54am on June 3rd, 2013

Comment by Jeweleya

This whole interaction is both wonderful and adorable. It makes me really happy that Xira takes Tareth's hand at the end there! :3

I must say, considering those eyebrows, I am reeeeally curious what color Xira's hair is! He (it is "he", right? Hmm) seems like a genuinely altruistic person. And geez, Jonan, what HAVE you done to be so infamous? Yikes.

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posted at 1:03am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Nziz

I'm visualizing blonde anime hair if/when he takes the turban off. The gravity-defying kind that has to be strapped down.

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posted at 3:21am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Amberylnne

ROFL

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posted at 4:02pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Cony

I'm visualising his hair being black tipped...if you know what I mean...

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posted at 6:16am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Robyn

He HAS displayed telepathy, and witches are supposed to be mind magic!

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posted at 1:07pm on June 6th, 2013

Comment by Nziz

I'm glad there was no Sitcom Awkwardness with him not realizing she's deaf. Hooray for El Turbano (whose name is actually Xira apparently but shall nonetheless remain EL TURBANO)!

Also, my reaction to the incentive:
"Bahaha, Jonan is totally Carpet, because he can't talk! But he looks like Jafar. Time for Halloween cosplay!" :D

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posted at 3:18am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by dragonking

Fairly sure that Jonan would take offense to being called a carpet. Though I have a feeling he wouldn't mind being Jafar.

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posted at 9:48am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

....Jonan is basically what happens when you take Jafar and Frollo and combine them into one person. (This probably also applies to personality, since you'd end up with a repressed, condescending, conservative man with a flare for flamboyant evil and pointy-shouldered clothes.)

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posted at 7:17pm on June 4th, 2013

Comment by Cony

Listen, finding out what Severian is up to is all nice and well BUT WHAT ABOUT ZOMBIE PONY?

Also, I like the look on Xira's face when Tareth mentions Jonan

Also also, I wonder how you pronounce Xira.

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posted at 6:25am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Rachel's Mom

*Also, I like the look on Xira's face when Tareth mentions Jonan* -- ME TOO!!! It's a little like Jasmine's after she pretends the camel is the doctor and Aladdin is dragging her away. :)

I'm betting on "Zheera" for the pronunciation.

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posted at 11:10am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Glew

On the pronunciation: Wouldn't it be "kseera"? I guess it's time for me to give up on finding out how any unknown English word is pronunced :S

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posted at 4:04am on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Obligatonym

What about "Sheera"?

My knowledge of languages is limited but, from what I gather, "X" is kind of a linguistic wildcard that can be pronounced however.

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posted at 3:38pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by notepadgirl

It kinda is in Portuguese. I mean, there's "SHame" X when at the start of words, "Zebra" X, "Salad" X when at the end of the syllable and "foX" X in some words.

And of course the sound IPA calls [x] is written in Portuguese as "R", because why the heck not.

X is so misterious... Pretty fitting.

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posted at 5:34pm on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

I pronounce it ZEE-rah (exactly the same pronounciation as the villain of Lion King 2; boy did I do a double-take when I re-watched that movie), but if you think it sounds better a different way and want to pronounce it that way in your head while reading THAT'S FINE BY ME. C:

(X is usually pronounced with that "ks" sound, like how fox rhymes with socks. But there's a few words that use it as a "z" sound for whatever reason, like xylophone - I think this has to do with the fact that English borrows from a zillion other languages? I've heard "Xavier" pronounced both "Eks-ay-vee-er" and "Zay-vee-er" depending on who says it. However I DO FEEL THE NEED TO POINT OUT that "Xira" isn't an English word, it's a name I made up, so no need to give up hope on the English language over that xD)

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posted at 7:30pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Nziz

I think the words that start with X use it like a Z. At least, that's my general understanding without going into a GoogleWarp of research trying to find out. :)

("Right, pronunciation of the letter X." Fifteen minutes later... "Australian snakes, neurotoxins, and Portal 2? How did I get here??")

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posted at 1:21am on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Glew

Wait WHAT?!
It's pronounced "zilofon"? Okay, English, it's just not going to work. Go, just go over there and feel ashamed and never come back...

Also, I never really got the whole "exavier" thing. Why can't it be just "xavier"??? Whatever. I'm going to eat some ghoti now.

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posted at 7:15am on June 6th, 2013

Reply by Cony

Ah alright, thank you.

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posted at 6:32pm on June 10th, 2013

Comment by Karen

Had to put so much effort into not bursting out laughing at Sev's indignant response in the incentive.

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posted at 8:39am on June 3rd, 2013

Comment by Karen

Also 'trigger-happy' seems like an odd sort of term to use in a place that (as far as we've seen so far) has no guns... o_o And yet I can't think of a comparable phrase that would work. I guess it comes down to the "Call a smerp a rabbit" kind of thing again?

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posted at 8:41am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Rachel

It could be? But the word trigger dates back to the 1600s or earlier, really. "Trigger-happy" doesn't show up allegedly till the 30s and 40s, but even so...

I mean, crossbows have triggers as well. It isn't impossible for a medieval-esque society like Varænske's to have the word and later develop the idea of "a person who is quick to fire [a crossbow] is happy to use the trigger" and distilling it to that phrase the same as we did.

#in which rachel over-analyzes words

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posted at 12:28pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Karen

I hadn't considered crossbows! Okay, I feel satisfied :) Thank you for your excellent overanalyzation.

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posted at 1:39pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Asterai

Crossbows aside, it is hard to come up with a close equivalent for trigger-happy. Bloodthirsty is a relation, but doesn't conjure the same image of dangerous jumpiness. Uuuuhhhh... quick to kill? Quick to blame? Aggressive is a good fallback, but doesn't flow the same, doesn't sound like casual conversation.

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posted at 3:32pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Rachel

Hm, that's a good point. I'd start leaning toward "bloodlust" types of words, to hit the "eagerly belligerent" feel that trigger-happy has, but bloodlust is also not very good for trying to sound conversational.

Which is where I *personally* think the criticism breaks down. To me anachronistic language isn't inherently suspension-of-disbelief-breaking, so I tend to gloss over the issue of "would they have reason to use this word" and focus more on "did this say what it was supposed to say in a way that was efficient and sounded natural?"

Not everyone is me, though, so I get that for some people it DOES break suspension of disbelief, and that's not like, BAD. ;u;

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posted at 3:42pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

There've been a few modern words leaked into the RW-folks' diction (medieval people didn't really get a lot of mileage out of "holy crap" either xD ) -- I have my own explanations, but it's a background thing so I think I'll save them for later. :") MIGHT MAKE A GOOD VOTE INCENTIVE SOME DAY

(As an aside, if world-reasons had prevented me from using "trigger-happy" I would've gone with "overzealous." It loses the specific visual of being quick to fire, but it keeps the feeling of the hunters being way too excited to carry out their duty of murdering aberrants.)

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posted at 5:15pm on June 3rd, 2013

Comment by Feldo

"As jumpy as a overdrawn bow?"

And dont trust Xira

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posted at 8:58am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Amberlynne

I hear that! 0_o

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posted at 4:01pm on June 3rd, 2013

Comment by Ely

Oh, I love Xira so much I hope he stays forever. <3

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posted at 9:23am on June 3rd, 2013

Comment by Nerrin

The gentleman bar is not only set not-high, it has been buried a few inches deep in a specially-made little trench. Sev did the actual digging, while Jonan got to (have his zombies) kick the dirt back over it.

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posted at 10:20am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Tehbeefer

Also, I'm pretty sure being a mind-reader nets you at least a +2 to empathy-related checks, so Sense Motive and Diplomacy no doubt get a bit of lift. It's still very sharp of him to pick up on the added benefit of holding hands in a busy crowd for Tareth, though to be fair, Sev's reluctance is understandable.

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posted at 11:57am on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Threnodi

That would make sense, wouldn't it? I guess they leave you to RP it out as best you can in DnD because in the Psionics Handbook the Read Thoughts ability lists no social bonuses at all. Ah, well!

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posted at 12:18pm on June 10th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

(pssst the power you're looking for is actually Empathy c: )

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posted at 6:39pm on June 10th, 2013

Reply by Threnodi

Ohh, thanks for the link! I totally missed that one! : )
Though I guess it would be hard to use them at the same time huh, since they're both concentration durations...
Though I suppose if you really wanted to apply that to what Xira's been doing in a DnD context, there were no thought bubbles to show he was reading thoughts after the first comic with him and Tareth, so he could have switched to Empathy then. ^_^; Though that's probably thinking too much for a comic that has it's own magic system, eheh..

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posted at 7:36pm on June 10th, 2013

Comment by Glew

Strange how unrealistic facial proportions usually don't even register as odd, but even slight "deviance" in real life looks "freaky".
This came to me while contemplating incentive-Sev's eyebrows. Eyebrows that are roughly the size of his mouth or ears, yet they still look acceptable.

Is there a scientific/artsy explanation?

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posted at 1:04pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Asterai

If you ever get the chance, read Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art". Short version of the relevant lesson from that book: When things are simplified and exaggerated in art, they become more universal. A smiley face could represent... almost anyone. Anyone with a mouth and two eyes and a symmetrical head. It becomes a symbol for a person, rather than a literal depiction of a person.

In real life, though... humans are evolved to be mighty good at distinguishing human faces. We've actually got a designated section of our brain just for that, for telling apart the miniscule differences in peoples' faces. That's why drawing people is so hard; it's not because faces are objectively more complex, it's because we're better at seeing any mistake, any flaw.

The final piece of the puzzle has to do with the fact that there is a consistent art style in the comic. If everyone else looked realistic but Sev looked like he does, well, you'd sure as hell notice something was off. But because the world in the comic is full of cartooned people, you accept it. Your brain accepts these images as symbols of people.

Your brain does this, at different levels, for every medium in which a story is told. Take books: These are not squiggles on a page, they represent sounds. These are not sounds, they are words, they represent ideas. These are not ideas, they are events, and insights, and thoughts. These things are not isolated occurrences, they are a cohesive narrative, a STORY in all caps, an unbroken chain of causality that tells us something about how the world is or should be or might be.

So in short... your brain does magical stuff! It turns real but meaningless things into not-real but meaningful things. It does this all the time, constantly, without ceasing.

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posted at 3:51pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Glew

Wow, thanks. Insightful inputs.

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posted at 4:12am on June 4th, 2013

Reply by notepadgirl

My god, thank you. I mean, you just spoon-fed a cupcake to my brain. I'm definately going after that reference!

Thank you, misterious Asterai, whoever you are!

(I'm exaggerating but I'm sincere)

On a separate note, we're the nerdiest fandom. Look at the crazy discussions we have here in the comments, blooming from innocent considerations, again and again! Shazzbaa be proud of your fandom.

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posted at 5:51pm on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

You guys are the Actual Best Readers. ;u;

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posted at 6:04pm on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Asterai

Heh heh, glad I could be of service. I find these things quite tasty as well.

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posted at 11:06pm on June 6th, 2013

Comment by Obligatonym

So... is comparing Runewriters characters to other characters definitely a Thing now? Because if so, I have one that I've been holding onto and I wonder how it'll be changed by the addition of Xira.

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posted at 2:14pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Nziz

Do tell!

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posted at 10:54pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Obligatonym

Hah! Gladly. Except, sadly, I've suddenly got the feeling that I may have already shared this, as I can never recall what I've commented and what I've merely considered commenting.

Either way, the one I thought of was the Three Wise Monkeys. See No Evil (Sev, who can't read), Hear No Evil (Tareth, duh!), Speak No Evil (Jonan, also duh!). It actually seemed to fit so well that I almost thought it was intentional.

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posted at 3:23pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Obligatonym

Oh, also everyone being all "hey, Xira is far too friendly, I don't trust 'em", reminds me of a similar reaction to Calliope in Homestuck. Also, I think a lot of people probably struggled with how to pronounce her name as well. Hmm... I'm beginning to wonder if maybe Xira has a "brother" we don't know about.

Though if this WERE Homestuck, it's clear that Sev would be WV, Tareth would be PM, Jonan would be AR, leaving Xira to be WQ. Which... actually seems to work out quite well, come to think of it. Like, ridiculously.

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posted at 3:49pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Ahahahaha, comparing characters to other characters is just A THING I ALWAYS DO for some reason. xD All my D&D parties have to put up with me deciding who would be which Pony/X-man/Avenger/Disney princess, so of course with my own characters I do it CONSTANTLY.

Re: the monkeys - OH I think someone did bring up this comparison, but no one's made a connection with Sev in it, so I think this is new! A couple of people were waiting for me to introduce a blind character, though. x3

ALSO COMPARING THEM TO THE EXILES IS PRETTY GREAT AND I KIND OF LOVE IT.

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posted at 7:36pm on June 4th, 2013

Comment by Amberlynne

This guy's too nice to be good news. 0.0

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posted at 4:00pm on June 3rd, 2013

Comment by Lady Myuu

Nooo, Xira is totally Aladdin.
Tareth is Jasmine(sh)
Sev is Genie, he's more comical and has shape shifting powers. .. and can be Carpet too.
Jonan ... looks more like Jafar but he can be a grumpier Abu?

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posted at 4:13pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Glew

Yes, and then Master Agorath (who we kind of know is -going to be- the antagonist because it was said by Shazz) can be Jafar, which makes Eshra... Iago?

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posted at 4:15am on June 4th, 2013

Reply by notepadgirl

Nooo, Iago sucks, Esra's awesome.

(seriously, does anyone really *like* Iago? Not trying to offend anyone if they do!)

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posted at 5:56pm on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Hahahahhahaha okay no you make a good case for Sev as genie. Quentin/Esra as Jafar/Iago IS SORT OF HILARIOUSLY GREAT. xD

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posted at 7:46pm on June 4th, 2013

Comment by Artificer-Urza

I'm guessing he's travelled quite far and heard many different accents and speach as he didn't pick up anything unusual from the way Tareth speaks. Or that's what I would guess. The language they are speaking is it a common trade language or is there no variation in language?

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posted at 8:19pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

It's also possible that he was just tactful enough to not mention it. :")

But the language they're speaking is ostensibly the Varænski language. There are other languages in other countries - savages and ancients generally speak Ilvan (and a lot of them have an accent); traders' native language is the Alaqan tongue -- but most people living in the city-states of Varænske speak this one. c:

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posted at 7:52pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Kwaj

"Ancients," you say?

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posted at 2:32am on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

Ahhhh sorry, wrong word! The comic has mostly called them half-elves; half-elves and ancients are the same thing and I forgot I haven't really used that term.

( YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED I DO THIS THING A LOT where there are multiple terms of varying accuracy/political correctness for things in my fantasy world and I am beginning to think I just do it to confuse EVERYONE. xD )

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posted at 11:47am on June 5th, 2013

Reply by NoRAd

I think it adds to the story. It's a lot of worldbuilding/depth, and -some- of us appreciate that :D

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posted at 7:10am on June 7th, 2013

Reply by Spikeball

I for one love deep worlds!
I like that world is deep enough that there are race(s) that are in the world that aren't in the comic like the Willowan mentioned in "Random things about races and nationalities in Runewriters".

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posted at 1:14am on June 26th, 2013

Comment by Why?!?!

Ah, that's it, Xira's my new favorite character! He's so sweet/considerate, and I have a feeling there's going to be some form of crushing between him and Tareth.

I do wonder: Xira is clearly a "witch", but (as far as I can tell) he doesn't appear to be marked. Did he somehow manage to evade detection by the gate guards? Hmm. Not sure if I like him more because he has super sly stealth ninja skills or if I'm wary because he's sneaking around in a not-quite-upstanding manner.

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posted at 9:28pm on June 3rd, 2013

Reply by Glew

Actually, makes me wonder how difficult it would be for a _mind-manipulating_ magic user, to get past those guards unnoticed/unbothered...? Unless they have magic protection.

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posted at 4:19am on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Cony

I'm picturing Xira waving his hand, taking control of his mind and saying something like "This isn't the hair colour you're looking for".

IN FACT, if he doesn't do that I'll be slightly disappointed.

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posted at 8:01am on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Karen

Xireth crushing + very-poorly-expressed jealousy on Sev's part?

And I'd wager he managed to evade them, simply because the first thing we see him say is a "whew" of apparently relief.

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posted at 2:08pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Shazzbaa

(omg my first pairing name I'm so proud)

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posted at 7:53pm on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Threnodi

If taking off his turban is considered rude, I wonder if he can actually get away with that as a gate check excuse? Though if guards were really being jerks about it, you'd think they would either insist or just not allow entry to any bald/turbaned person. ^_^

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posted at 12:26pm on June 10th, 2013

Reply by Threnodi

Oh wow, bad memory there. That pretty much got covered on the way in. huh. @.@ And the bald angle got covered in one of the extras, huh..well, I look forward to finding out how he got in undetected then, if he did! They said something about 'marking' witches?

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posted at 3:45pm on June 14th, 2013

Comment by erdbeere

I was wondering if it meant something that we can't see Xira's eyes in the last panel (granted we can't see Tareth's eyes too). Because normally in story-telling it means that we shouldn't trust a person who is depicted like that.

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posted at 12:29am on June 4th, 2013

Reply by Wabbajack

I think it was a nice touch because it added more expressiveness to the "i'm just watching your lips". <3 We're sort of looking in a Tareth perspective, where the lips are the main feature on a person's face rather than the eyes, which is what the rest of us mainly find ourselves watching.

/at least that's what I think Shazz was trying to convey and I hope I'm not just making a fool of myself

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posted at 1:38pm on October 17th, 2013

Comment by Nziz

And here I thought the panel was focusing on them holding hands, and Tareth smiling gratefully.

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posted at 1:25am on June 5th, 2013

Reply by Kwaj

Yeah... I don't trust that, either.

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posted at 2:31am on June 5th, 2013

Comment by Kiri

"Jonan can be Carpet."

I'M DYING.

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posted at 2:52am on June 5th, 2013

Reply by NoRAd

No, no. I did see the incentive, so I know what you're talking about, but Sev has to be Carpet, because he's the one who's actually doing the flying.

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posted at 6:55am on June 5th, 2013

Comment by riverfox237

No no no...Jonan can be Genie! A very pessimistic, unhappy Genie, BUT STILL.

Aladdin references ftw.

And with that last panel, the Tareth/Xira shipping was commenced.

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posted at 7:13pm on June 6th, 2013

Comment by Grudgesettler

Man, I want a bunny chocobo.

I'm willing to give Xira the benefit of the doubt, for now. Not like there's anyone else in the city for Tareth to turn to at the moment. Great comic, keep up the good work.

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posted at 3:32am on June 8th, 2013

Comment by Wabbajack

...

That awkward moment when you have to admit to someone that you've been watching their lips the whole time.

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posted at 9:21am on August 17th, 2013




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