Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Murder in Bologna

I am testing the style for Murder in Bologna, I am trying to go for a simil-realistic (but not too realistic, everybody can do realistic hahaha) style for it, I have not started on the backgrounds yet, I am still collecting references.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The New Family tree

Here the new family tree as per your request.

I took the old one and modified it by adding the characters we know in color as we see them in the comic (this should come as a visual aid).
As you may see the only differences are the addition of Pandora and shifting Kane up one generation. :)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Some clarifications

to whomever left this comment and everybody else who is taking the survey.
Thanks for helping out.

The survey is for The Pirate Balthasar only at the moment because as short as it may seem it's still more than 900 pages for about 5 volumes and it's looking expensive already. This is if we don't count the notes, the extra drawings and other stuff. (and some extra pages I may need to add)

I will not release Origins, Next Generation or The Gem YET because I have still have 9 months worth of stories to finish them up till the end of 2016. Like I said here: ask away.

So I will take your comment and archive it in the category "questions by readers" albeit posted in the wrong place because I really have no way to reply unless I screencap you :/  which is a bit unfair hahaha.

The list to the side of the blog lists the future stories more or less in order. So there's still lots of stuff to go through until December.

As far as I am concerned The Pirate Balthasar is complete, self sufficient and its own product that can live without the other extra stories, this is why I am venturing to test print on it. :D The arc is complete and able to stand alone.

I ask now if people are interested in a printed copy because it will take me months to figure out if I do have a pool and stand a chance at a kickstarter and I have to research on printing, shipping and other things. All my friends who kickstarted their product said that the worst part was indeed the production+shipping.
I'd like to have a head start to know what I am getting myself into, because if I don't have enough people it's not worth it :/ and I will just begin with the kindle version.

I will look into cheaper version as well as omnibus or deluxe versions for those of you willing to pay more for a nice limited edition.
Don't worry about the quality of the print. I will not print until it turns out exactly how I want it, I am used to QC for printing and I am also picky about colors and paper. :D

I will create extra new content for the books, yes, and I will include the notes.
I will make sure it will be shipped everywhere.

If possible I would like to leave the survey for suggestion and the post comments maybe for comments.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Would buy a copy of The Pirate Balthasar?

Hi GUYS before you fill in the survey a few info.

1) This is for the Pirate Balthasar only - at the moment - as the rest of the stories are not completed arcs.
2) Everything that was posted online will be in the books, included characters sheets, curiosities and Illustrations.
3) Every chapter is 45 pages so we may be looking at a 200 pages volume for a deluxe version and a cheaper version/single issues.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chapter 10 - curiosities

It's time to catch up with the curiosities. This will be an extremely long post because, as things reach their conclusion, a lot of loose ends are being tided up and reincorporations are very important.

The sisters come back for the ceremony a second time. As Circe is being very official with them the girls are only interested in the baby and are not very serious about the ceremony - maybe because the first one did not end up as expected - hence the disgruntled expression as she probably wishes to get things started quickly instead.


As you may see at this point of the story Nicoli still calls Cosimo "little sister", it's their thing now.
Finally the ceremony begins and the sisters begin to chant.

Back to the ceremony: the formula is not the same for all the sisters - as one of them is supposed to be the Siren (in our story it's Nicoli but she is the Siren of the South), this means the formula is older than the current sisterhood and, in the past, the Siren used to be in the West. (the previous one was Amelia, btw)
These sisters probably are not experienced enough to tamper with an old chant or maybe they are attached to traditions but they did not change it.
This is not really a useful detail, it is just something I thought would be nice to add to show that the sisterhood predates the existing sisters and that the existing sisters just carry on a tradition "as is" without touching it for one reason or another. 
But somebody asked why and so I thought I'd explain it.

And as the ceremony draws to its end and Gemma points to herself a surprised blonde dude (Tel here, Martin in the past) dares to speak to the guy who is "nice to all girls", which is not something Kane is totally unfamiliar with hahaha.
That and Kane just totally digs his wife.


But as we finally hit the revelation that Kane IS the white witch for some mysterious reasons - that we will figure out later as his memories return - we also realize that "cannot sing" came from his mom. It was an illusion, it was binding and only his accessing the circle of the chanting sisters has the power to awaken him.

With his new found memories, Kane has the power to seal the deal and confirm Castalia as the Pirate King.
For once it's not a woman aiding a man reach his goal, it's the other way around... but wait a minute... Kane has always been an enabler so did we really not see this coming? Kane enabling others reach their goals and fulfill their full potential is not new! It was always there, wasn't it? So it's no surprise. Isn't that also one of the reasons why he digs it so much when he sees people come forth and states who they are and who they want to be? It's the nature of the White Witch hahaha.

Now Gemma's reaction was mistaken for Castalia coming back. Of course Gemma is a little part of Castalia so there's no doubt about the fact their reactions would be similar. What part of Castalia do you think Circe went and tapped into to pull out Gemma? Her curiosity, her desire to explore and see the world, her desire for knowledge.

But let's face it. Gemma may have the curiosity and desire for adventure but what she does not have is the initiative to do things on her own. As Circe said it in the past: she can leave the Circeius if she wants to. Actually everybody is free to come and go as they please, nobody is a prisoner.
Yet Gemma asks Kane to take her to town, and she asks him again to take her away, but do remember: Castalia does her own stealing/kidnapping. She does not need anybody to steal he away. She comes and goes as she pleases. So this is what Gemma is lacking and that is why she is only a small portion of Castalia.


And this is why Kane does not invite her to follow him. He does not say "we are leaving". He knows Castalia needs to re-surface and make the decision to leave on her own and he also remembers that she told him to trust Gemma and that she will follow the child. Again here he is enabling her. 
But let's go back to Kane's memories resurfacing. 
Apparently Pandora was training her boy to be one of the sisters - this is not about gender equality hahaha she is an enabler too so she probably saw potential in him.

The blonde girl is Benedetta/Benie aka future Circe. In case you forgot she had a full flashback a couple of chapters before and told us her story from her point of view. Circe is blonde, we have seen her blonde hair before a couple of times.


At this point of the story she is totally okay with her new "brother" and actually the fact she reads him stories might explain a lot as to why Kane loves books so much and likes to read books with Castalia (aside from the fact that she is far sighted) and his children.

But think about it: the fact that Benie chose Circe as a name for her new self doesn't it make it sound like she is subliminally trying to connect with her past? She doesn't seem to like Circe, she turns men into pigs, but it's Kane's favorite story. So she chose something he likes.She turned into something she would hate, yet she chose the name of something he likes.

Back to the night where everything went wrong. The Turks attacked. The XVII century is marked by this crazy war between Europe and the Ottoman Empire and it went on for ages. So the Turks are mentioned a couple of times in the story but we never see them. Truth be told, in most cases, in Italy they represented this serpentine fear in the back of everybody's mind so much that a famous saying comes from it "Mamma li Turchi!" which stands for "God forbid" and it literally translate as "Mommy, help, the Turks are here!".

It wasn't uncommon for the Turk navy to attack seaside towns and ports but some of the most famous attacks were carried on to kidnap women whose beauty was famous throughout the World. So this isn't the first time, in the comic, where we see them attack and apparently it won't be the last either. Look at what happened to Andromeda.

Anyway the guy leading Pandora and baby Kane to safety is Villy, Cosimo's elder son. The Wilson Kane they are talking about is Castalia's father, if you remember they share the same name, quarrel about it all the time and because of that they are called "the 2 Villy" - although Amelia calls Cosimo's son Guglielmo and after they get together everybody ends up calling him Papadopulos.

You remember the 2 Villy right? The one to the left is Wilson Kane (Castalia and Callimaco's father - and the other girls too of course), the one to the right is Villy Blathasar aka Guglielmo Papadopulos who marries Amelia after Wilson Kane bails on her. (In the middle is Gilbert Sullivan, the ex pirate king and Circe's father)

And this is what they look like when they are young and both flirting with Amelia.

So yeah you can say that Villy had one foot in two shoes - but you also have to take into consideration that his father would not let him marry Eve (Josh's mom) because she was a prostitute. Although Eve does confess Villy is not the most faithful of men.

Still that's where Villy takes Pandora, to Eve's brothel and this is where the poor woman hides with her child for what looks like... years. All the while keeping silent, so that nobody would discover and find her, all the while having put a counterproductive illusion on her son. (actually two).

This is where too much time go by, Kane gets confused as to who his real father is and ends up thinking that Josh is his brother.

And eventually all the waiting, all the pain seem to have lead to nothing, when the Turks finally get to reach Pandora (so it is her they are looking for, after all) by following Benie, who apparently is tired of staying away from her mom.

Of course here Pandora is jumping to conclusion quickly but honestly if you knew your husband is keeping the Turks away and all of a sudden the Turks appear at your door what would you think? They must have defeated him - and especially if you have been in this suspended/hiding condition for years this is a point in life where all hopes seem to die.

As we all know the moment she starts speaking she is casting illusions and the words she is saying are quite powerful, on top of things Kane's singing amplifies their effect.

We know that illusion don't work on children and animals because their senses are brand new, at least Circe's illusions don't. Pandora though is a fully trained white witch, coming from generation and generation of witches before the diaspora of the sisterhood - while Circe never completed her training and is mostly self taught - she also manages to cast illusions on her son because it is her son she is casting illusions on (and children have this secret desire to be n.1 in their mother's eyes and undying trust on their parents).
Of course Josh is impacted twice by a person who is like another mother to him and his brother.

This is also the reason why, when Circe casts her illusion, it only partially works.
Pandora's "be nice to all girls" and "you cannot sing" are stronger and stay and as long as Kane cannot hear his mother talk... he cannot sing.

(That's why he begins to sing again in the Circeius, where Dora lives.
Yes and he also sang once on the ship, right after Castalia broke the "Balthasar is perfect" - another proof the Circe's illusions are not so lasting but somehow scramble him and confuse him real good.)

In fact they confuse him so - and this boy has way too many illusions binding him - that he remembers fact from his life differently. Including the fact that Circe started the fire by throwing the powder for the green smoke in the fireplace, when all the while he thought of himself as an S.o.b. and a bad boy and of course he remembers everything else differently: who his mother was, who actually did attack his mom and so on.


Now down to my favorite topic. I love a good villain like anybody else. In fact I believe being a villain is a very difficult task and I like when villains have strong motivation that turns them into antagonists whom, at one point in life, took a wrong turn, made a few mistakes, chose the wrong choice and then embraced the consequences and continued with it.

In a lot of the stories I read... the villain is redeemed and rescued and then the story ends and I am always left puzzled to think: wow, if that was me, I don't think I could live with myself anymore no matter how much people forgive me I cannot forgive myself and I'd rather die.

Nobody ever thinks about the most important factor in villain redemption: if the villain goes back to being his old good self, the villain has to live and bear the consequences of all the things she/he had done when being wicked.
Being an antagonist is not an easy job, especially if you think you are right and you did suffer for 30 years and are driven by rage and revenge and all those ugly feelings.

So how would Benedetta survive knowing she sent her little brother off on his own to fend for himself and a demented brother (and later on tried to kill him too), wiped her "mom"'s memory, used her father against the Balthasars and so on? How would she keep sane of mind knowing she hurt the people she loved and who loved her?
Benedetta is not strong enough, Circe knows it, Bendetta would not survive.

She was cursed into something she did not want to be. She had to struggle with it her whole life, fought against the cruel nature, and when she finally managed to come to terms with it and finds peace of mind (and uses what she has become to put the pieces of her life together) she is offered a lifetime or remorse and despair? Why would she want to be broken again after it took her so many years to mend herself? She is whole right now.

Circe is whole right now that's why she is saying "I am not broken, I need no fixing". People assume she is broken but she is not, so why would she want to be broken again? Because she would break if she reverted, she would not be happy at all, she would be utterly miserable and die consumed by guilt. (personally I'd rather die than live in remorse). I believe that redeeming a villain is the selfish act of a hero who wants to feel good about himself but is not thinking about the well being of the Villain - killing the villain would be a more merciful option.

Thankfully, Kane is intelligent and does not insist he understand because he has to live with the choices and the consequence of what he has done as a child and he knows it's unbearable.

So I am sorry, I could have fake rescued Benedetta and give the readers cheap feels, everybody is in tears and happy, but that would have been Out of character (she would have died of sorrow and then Kane would have to live with Benedetta's death on his hands ) and a huge betrayal to the story which is still a story about Acceptance, after all. Circe knows Benedetta and remember her, she keeps her safe in her heart, she has accepted who she is and what she needs to do to survive and her husband loves her no matter what and helps her through thick and thin which is the most important lesson in loyalty here.

I hate "easy ways out" in writing, I like human emotions because they are not perfect and life has a weird way of balancing itself off and tropes, tropes are often applied without thinking and do not consider that a story continues after the words THE END appear.

In short getting rid of Circe and rescuing Benie would not have been a happy ending for Circe but more like a brand new curse.

A bit of a lesson here from a goddess, after all she is a goddess, who tells you the truth about why women dress the way they dress. We are not testosterone driven creatures, supremacy is a thing of beauty haahha.

And then this happened.
Exactly what is going on here?
I thought she wanted to leave and see the world, I thought she said: take me away.

But Kane did not invite her (as we say it in Singapore: bo jio). Remember that thing about sister entering people's lives when invited? (almost like vampires)
He said "I am leaving" not "we are leaving". He thinks Castalia does her own stealing so, being the enabler he naturally is, Kane is creating the opportunity for Castalia to emerge and follow the baby, like she said she would.

He is creating the chance for his wife to come and see him soon and he is pretty optimistic about it.

Of course here everybody sang the song from "Bear and the big blue house", right?

The chapter closes with Gemma's baby following Castalia's baby.
I know some of you picked up on this bit so I won't explain too much.

Clearly the cat cannot give up the milk smelling creature she so much love and the man who feeds her hooman food.
Let's not humanize this too much though, I have a strong feeling cats think of all humans as kittens and that's why they are so vocal with us and share their grooming ritual with us.

But the important thing here is that now Gemma will merge Catstalia's absence and the baby's absence in one major feeling of loss and that will have consequences.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ah boy to Kane

I am back to doodling more so have a Kane in his boyhood when he was training to become a Pirate Balthasar :D