The Burning Leaf

Issue 4

Open on a little kid version of Kennick. He is hanging upside down from a tree branch. He is playing with a branch from that tree, changing it into other things, a fan, a toy, etc. from behind you see another forest dweller sneaking up behind him. He has a large club and swings it right into Kennicks side. He falls from the tree and scoots back from the attacker. The other boy stalks up menacingly and beats on Kennick some more. Kennick shouts at him, why a you attacking me etc. the boy answers “you are small. You are weak. It is my sacred duty to cull you from the Ershu. And it’s pretty fun.” Closing in for the killing blow, the boy is tackled from the side by Kennicks Mother. She chases him off ands rocks her bleeding and broken son. She says “shhh…. Mothers here, I’ll take care of you. No one will hurt you while I’m round.” Transition back to the main story.

Kennick sees his mother, now corrupted by the scar. She is quite zombie like, except not undead, just like she has a parasite in her, controlling her, making her a living zombie, the parasite is like a black fungus, puffing up over half her face and body. Other people are corrupted too, bodies are laying, unmoving on the ground. Kennick says, mother. She snarls and attacks. Nina dodges out of the way, Kennick let’s himself be knocked over. His mother is now on top of him. He is holding her arms and face at bay. He looks in her face. Nina is attacked from the side by another scar fiend. Kennick says, it’s me, Ken. What happened to you? Etc. she snarls in return. Nina gets in trouble. She starts shouting for Kennicks help. He doesn’t hear her, perhaps a tear rolls down his cheek. Se shouts again, really loudly, Kennick snaps out of it. He shoves his mother away and reaches for a tree. Roots begin shooting from the ground, creating a lattice that surrounds the scar fiends. One pops up to bite him and bark quickly grows up his arm to his back to block the bite. Kennick releases the tree and just clocks the guy.

A wide shot of the aftermath, all but of the scar fiends are imprisoned, the one left was the one just punched. Nina is on the ground, leaning against a tree, panting, Kennick is standing victorious, but not all that happy about it. Heads begin popping out of the surrounding trees and bushes. All of the adult women have a cloth covering their lower faces, and their hair is long but always up. The men also keep their hair long, but always wear it down, it is a symbol dominance. The men are free, like their hair, but the women are slaves (virtually). In the fight, Nina’s hair was disheveled, and she goes about undoing it to fix it. We can make a funny scene with it being all messed up. Kennick begins rounding the survivors up. He addresses a boy child, “where is Sylas?” The child points. Nina is still messing with her hair in the background, it is still up and all messed up.

Sylas runs up through some bushes, he is flanked by two other Ershu. Sylas is far more beefy and mature than Kennick, though they have the same general features, though sylas is more mean looking. Also, Sylas is also more ornamented than Kennick, with beads, charms, trophies, etc. He is splattered with blood, especially on his hands, his companions too. After entering the scene, Sylas has mot moved, Kennick runs up to great him, they embrace and Kennick says, “I came as fast as I could when I saw the scar.” Sylas: And the hunt? Is your passage complete? Kennick glances at Nina who has almost released her hair. “More or less” Sylas: Good. We must cleanse our tribe and move away from the scar. Nina, who is just now shaking her hair free, it is long and flowing, epic super model with the wind blowing pose: cleanse? What do you mean cleanse?

Everyone is shocked, save Kennick and Nina. All the children are wide eyed, the women are curious, and the men are furious. Nina:…what?.. Sylas backhands the crap out of her, sending Nina flying “You dare?!?!?” Spinning on Kennick. “You lied to me. Your passage is incomplete. (Gesturing towards Nina on the ground) Your woman mocks our ways and brazenly flaunts her unclean mane. Kennick: Sylas, she… Sylas: silence! You deal with her (tosses him a knife) and make this right. I’ll dispose of the infected.” Kennick is cowed and heads over to Nina as Sylas stalks over the the cage. Kennick helps Nina sit up. She is rubbing her jaw. Nina: That jerk blind sided me. Kennick: Hold our tongue! (softly) He is Sylas, the head of the Ershu. Nina: Ershu? kennick: My tribe, now hold still. ( he starts to put a knife to her hair) Nina: hey hey hey! What a you doing! (She takes hold of his knife hand) Kennick: You are my woman now, you must accept our ways. Nina: Your woman?!?! Kennick: it is the way of our people for a young man to come of age, he must go out and capture his woman, and start a family. I am a man now. You are my woman. (Nina glances around and sees all of the women around her, faces covered, hair short, cowering.) Nina: If you think that I’m going to sit around and become your slave, cover my face, and worst of all, let your cut my hair, you— (cut off by large noises) she looks over.

Sylas is ripping down the cage. Nina: What is he doing? Kennick: …He is cleansing our village. Removing its weakness, making us stronger. Nina: Wait, their just sick, we might be able to save them. Kennick: that isn’t our way. Nina: Well you have to try. Hey! Wait!! (She shouts at Sylas as he works his way towards the scar fiends.) Sylas grabs an infected person and breaks his neck, ignoring Nina’s shouts. Sylas appears to be enjoying it. He grabs a smaller and younger infected, lifts it into the air. Nina shoulder slams into him as he readies a death blow, knocking all 3 of the to the ground. Once again, everyone is super shocked, most of all Sylas. Sylas: You dare?! (Venomously) Nina: Well, yeah. (He smashes her again, into a tree.) Sylas: I see Kennick is unable to show you your place. (Punch her again, against the tree) I don’t have that problem. (He touches the tree and the bark binds her against the tree)

Nina: Hey! (She struggles) gnnnarg! Let me go! Sylas: it is not a woman’s place to speak to a man. Nina: screw you! (Sylas smacks her) Sylas: you will learn your place, and I will enjoy teaching it to you (with a sneer). We see Kennick off to the side, looking agonized. Nina: (she looks over to him) Kennick….(she gets clobbered) DO SOMETHING! (Again) zoom in on his face, from off panel we hear her being beaten and her shouting things out. Kennick eventually lowers his eyes and doesn’t step in.


Kennicks mother is working outside a tent, her face covered in a proper way. Kennick runs up super excited. He looks as he does today. adult. Kennick: today is the day mother! Sylas is finally allowing me to go on The Hunt. (His mother doesn’t look happy) I am to be a man! (She just looks down and says nothing) Mother? (He reaches and grabs her arm) Mother: (shaking hear arm free) let go of me! (She drops her veil) The worst day of my life was when your father ambushed me outside my village. He made me a slave. He took away my life and doomed me to this… Hell. Kennicks: but what about me mother? You got me. Mother: yes, you are the only bright and happy thing in my life, (she reaches up and touches his cheek) but even now, you are being taken from me, and transformed into all that is evil in this world. (She slaps his face) Don’t do this. Don’t ruin a poor woman’s life. Choose a different path. Kennick looks hurt. Kennick: what do you know? You are just a woman, a slave. (He reaches down and raises her veil) when I come back a man, you will see. The leaders will accept me as an adult. This is the way it is supposed to be. (He leaves and his mother falls to her knees, sobbing) mother: no ken, to become a man…

End flashback.

Final page, Nina is beaten and bloodied, slumping in her restrains. Sylas is readying to kill her, Kennedy is standing off to the side, looking defeated. He closes his eyes and a tear rolls down. A white text box: …you must stand up for what is right.

End of issue.

Issue 3

Page 1

Nina is facing off with the bear. She is empowered by the Spirits, her body is engulfed by a white aura. She dashes forward and stabs the bear in his side. The bear roars and backhands Nina violently away.

Page 2

She flies through the air, her amulet is knocked away. Nina shakes her head and the aura is gone, her eyes are normal. She is super confused. Holding her head.
Nina: what’s going…?
She looks up and sees the bear, her eyes get really wide. It closes on her and leans forward for the kill.

Page 3

The bear is struck from the side by a large wooden pole and thrown aside. Nina is still cowering, her eyes closed. the next shot is her peaking with one eye.
Nina: What the…?
She sits up and sees the bear on the ground and a figure running up from the tree line. He is tall, lankey and has arms and shoulders covered with spikey bark. He has a crazed look and make an unintelligible war cry.

Page 4

The man crashes into the bear shoulder first, he bashes the bear with both hands then puts it in a sleeper hold. He is shouting the whole time, like this is the funnest thing around. He flashes Nina a wild grin as he subdues the bear. He begins talking while the bear is still struggling. Kennick: Kennick.
Nina: What?
Kennick: You were wondering who I am.
Nina: oh, so you are a Kennick?
Kennick: No, I am THE Kennick…. Or rather, Kennick is my name. (As they are talking the bear gets weaker and weaker, eventually passing out)

Page 5

Nina: Oh, I get it. I’m Nina, from Kahm.
Kennick: Kahm, eh? We don’t see much of your kind this far down slope.
Nina: I can see why (pointing to the bear) Thanks for the save.
Kennick: No worries, it’s what I do (looking smug).
Nina: What? Saving people?
Kennick: No… Getting rowdy (He smirks)

Page 6

Kennick: What brings you here of all places? (Gesturing around him) Didn’t you see the warning wisp?
Nina: Warning wisp?
Kennick: Yeah, that green sprite wandering around. They manifest wherever dangerous creature are about.
Nina: Oh! (like she just had the biggest duh moment) We don’t have those back home.
Kennick: Really? I thought they were every…(starts to trail off)where…. (his focus is on something on the ground) What is… that?

Page 7

On the ground is Nina’s talisman, its strap broken. It is a shiny metal ornate necklace, the symbol of Nina’s rank. Kennick bends down to pick it up.
Nina: Oh that’s nothing, just a family heirloom. (Nina snatches it out of Kennicks grasp.)(she puts it back on around her neck.)
Kennick: If it is that important to you, maybe I should hold on to if for you. You know, for safe keeping (he reaches for it).
Nina: NO! (she pushes him away and he flies away. We see a small amount of spirit aura, not very noticeable)
Kennick: Hey! I was just trying to help!
Nina: Well, I don’t need your help. (we zoom in on the talisman around her neck) Just leave me alone.

Page 8

This next bit takes place during her training with her grandmother. They are in the ritual hut.
(the next panel has the same sort of picture, a zoom in of the Talisman, but it is around her grandmother’s neck, not Nina’s)
Gma: Lets move on to leadership. What does it mean to be a good leader.
Nina: Step one: lie to everyone you love.
Gma: Enough! I know you are still upset about the weight we must bear as Ancient One. But we must still continue your training… (Nina is a bit pouty)
Gma: We are not alone in this valley. There are many other people’s out there. (Zoom in on her menacing eyes) Many of them dangerous.

Page 9

Gma: It is our job as Ancient One to protect the Kahm. That is why we cannot trust anyone who isn’t Kahm.
Nina: But isn’t that just mean?
Gma: we don’t have the luxury of being open and honest when our people are at stake. Everyone has secrets, including us. (A knowing stare, Nina avoids eye contact) When dealing with outsiders, we must protect our secrets and discover theirs.
Nina: couldn’t we just all work together?
Gma: out there (she points out the window) everyone is looking out for their own best interests, don’t ever forget that.

end flashback
Page 10

Nina is storming off away from kennick, he is running to catch up.
Kennick: Hey, wait! Do you even know where you’re going? (she keeps on walking, he stops following). You’re out here for a reason. maybe i could help you with whatever you’re doing. (She keeps walking) I’m good in a fight! (she finally stops) Best decision you made all day.

Page 11

(she turns around and he starts walking towards her and He’ll start shedding his armor)
Nina: What are you doing?
Kennick: just ditching my armor, it gets kind of heavy.
Nina: Don’t you need that?
Kennick: No, if I need to, I’ll just grown another one.
Nina: (She’ dumbfounded.) You’ll what?
Kennick: Oh, I thought you knew. I’m an Arbormancer.
Nina: arbor….
Kennick: I can change plants around, shape them into what I want… Like bark armor. Cool huh? Nina: And all I have is a pointy stick.

Page 12

They start walking again, finally all the way in the forest.
Kennick: So…?
Nina: So what?
Kennick: what are you doing out here?
White text box: oh, just trying to save the world.
Nina: um… A pilgrimage?
(He looks over at Nina, she is staring with her mouth open)
Kennick: what kind of pilgrimage? (no response) Nina? (Gasp)(he turns and has an equally shocked look on his face)

Page 13

This is the first shot of the scar. A large swath cut out of the forest. It is infected, and dying, it is black and decaying, trees are falling over, everything looks gross and sick.
A full page spread, both hero’s are in the foreground, shot from above and behind.
We can have smaller boxes focus on individual problems, like a fern or bunny.
Kennick: what happened?
Nina: it’s all dead…

Page 14

Next scene has them invetigating further. Looking more closely.
Nina: no, not dead, but dying.
Kennick: (his hand is on a tree) I’ve never felt anything like it. It’s like the forest is sick, hanging on by a thread.
Nina: (looking in the distance) this seems to go on quite a distance, what’s in this forest.
Kennick: … My people…
Nina: if I can help you, I will.
Kennick: thanks, I mean— (interupted by an attack from corrupted creatures)

Page 15-17

(A rustling leads to an attack by many nasty, rabidish creatures. They are twisted and scarred.)
This is action for a page or two, they are fighting and winning. New types of text boxes appear, perhaps a different color… Gold? They give simple spear instructions to Nina.
Block, thrust, etc. there can be dialog here too, likes what are these? I don’t know! Etc.

Page 18

Fight aftermath.
Kennick: you sure held your own with that spear.
Nina: yeah, I did.. Didn’t I?
Kennick: you sound surprised.
Nina: I am a bit, I’ve never used a spear in my life until today.
Kennick: maybe you got lucky.
Nina: maybe.
Kennick: (bending over th inspect a corrupted animal corpse) this used to be a bunny (or whatever), it has the same sickness as the forest.
Nina: whatever happened here could be happening to your people.
Kennick: let’s find out if it is.

Page 19

(They are walking through the scar)
Nina: Tell me about your people.
Kennick: I am of the forest people, the Ershu tribe. We take shelter all throughout this forest. Our camp is just through that stand of trees.
Nina: Camp? You live in camps?
Kennick: We never stay in one place too long. We… (Rustling, shouting, fighting noises. They make eye contact and run headlong through the tree line.)

Page 20

A 2/3 page spread of the desolation of the Ershu camp on top, with the bottom 3rd having beeen devided into 2 parts. on the top: Creatures are fighting, women are cowering, bodies are strewn. Etc. There is a feminine figure standing alone in the chaos. Her face avertedd. Our heroes are shocked. Bottom left: Her face turns to our heroes and it is twisted and evil, she has a “shoufa” like cloth hanging from her face. Bottom right: Zoom in on Kennick’s face. He looks distressed.
Kennick: Mother?

End of issue 3

Issue 1, 2nd draft
Ryan's spin

The Valley of the Spirits
Issue #1
“The Land Before The Lost Forgot”
Story by Jesse Reynolds
Written by Ryan French and Jesse Reynolds
Art/Ink/Colors by Someone
Other Stuff by Someone Else

Page 1
Full page spread: Surface world, sun visible, Titans and dark Angel figures fighting each other over a decimated medieval city landscape—they are taller than the buildings, crushing and destroying everything in their wake as ant-size humans flee in panic.
BLACK TEXT BOX: I am the hero of this tale.

Page 2
4 equal panels, dividing the page into 5 horizontal bars
Panel 1 – One Titan just clocks an Angel, he’s about to fall right onto some kind of tenement building and crush it.
BLACK TEXT BOX: My actions are guided by prophecy.
Panel 2 – Two 12-yr-old kids, 1 boy 1 girl, are putting obstacles in the path of a line of ants as they try to haul food back to their anthill.
Panel 3 – Closer view of the Angel falling onto the tenement building, ant-size humans are jumping from the windows trying to flee before he crushes them.
BLACK TEXT BOX: My name will be sung through the ages.
Panel 4 – The 12 yr old boy is jamming a stick down the hole in the anthill while the girl plays with an ant, her back turned to what he’s doing.

Page 3
6 equal panels, dividing the page into 5 horizontal bars
Panel 1 – A close up of an ant on the child’s hand, the girls eye and face in the background as she studies the insect.
Panel 2 – the dark Angel is sprawled out on the ground. As a building he brushed into collapses, a human has landed on his face.
BLACK TEXT BOX: I will win this war…
Panel 3 – The girl notices the boy stomping on ants left and right, she looks slightly troubled.
Panel 4 – The downed Angel flicks the human off of its face. In the background, the Titan readies a finishing blow.
BLACK TEXT BOX: …no matter the cost.
Panel 5 – A low angle (knees down is all) of the boy kicking the anthill, destroying it.
Panel 6 – The final blow is struck, causing a wave of fiery distraction that imolates the surrounding area.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “Just what do you two think you’re doing!

Page 4
Inset panel, upper left: the girl is startled and guilty, the boy surprised but still excited from his exertion.
Full page panel: The first view of our heroine. She is standing with her hands on her hips, facing us, almost tapping a booted foot. A scowl on her face. The children are in the foreground, backs to us. A bustling village is in the background. She is wearing her everyday clothing.
NINA: How would you like it if I came and stomped all over your home?
Inset panel, lower right: The boy hurumphs and crosses his arms, the girl looks sheepish.

Page 5-6
Panoramic spread: view of the village, people are out and about, doing their business, People are working, selling, chopping wood, gossiping etc. The village has been built in a large depression dug in the ground, the streets are dirt. The buildings are almost entirely made of straw. People wear earth tones mostly. 4 different images of Nina and Priya (the 12 year old girl) as they walk through this scene. The girls interact with each other and the village people.
First vignette: Nina is dragging Priya away from the boy.
NINA: How many times do I have to tell you, do not play with Kelin Kahm-Monger. He is a bad influence on you.
PRIYA: I try Nina, but it’s hard making friends when your big sister is the Ancient One.
Second vignette: Villager waving to them in greeting, Nina irritated. Priya confused.
VILLAGER: Oy! Good afternoon, Ancient One!
NINA: (aside to Priya) I wish no one would call me that.
PRIYA: But that’s what you are.
Third vignette: Nina exasperated. Priya excited, making gestures.
NINA: Not you too!
PRIYA: It’s an honor
NINA: —one I didn’t ask for.
Fourth vignette: Priya marching, boasting, grand gestures. Nina rolling her eyes.
PRIYA: Leader of the fire!
NINA: (sarcasm) This way torches, follow me!
PRIYA: Binder of the leaf!
NINA: Just the one, of course.
PRIYA: Dawn bringer!
NINA: Don lives down that street, right?

Page 7
Divided in 6 panels.
Top left: Priya shouting at her sister, scandalized. Nina with her eyes closed, long-suffering martyr face.
PRIYA: Soulseeker!
NINA: Ghostbuster!
PRIYA: Bane of the Beneath!
NINA: Seriously. All of those titles are ridiculous. Why can’t you just call me Nee-ya like you used to?
Top right: Priya clearly upset at her sister, lower lip trembling, close up shot.
PRIYA: They may seem ridiculous to you, but those titles are very important, to all of us! You’re the Ancient One, the leader of the Kahm!
WHITE TEXT BOX: She really believes this stuff.
Middle left: Nina looking embarrassed, eyes down. Priya with arms crossed, very upset.
NINA: Tell that to the Council of Elders. They treat me like a little girl still in skirts!
Middle right: Nina even more embarrassed, facepalm. Priya spreading her skirts and looking mad.
NINA: …sorry!
Lower left: Nina extending the arm she was facepalming with, explaining to her sister. Priya arms crossed.
NINA: It’s just that—Grandmother was so strong. She spoke, and the Elders listened. I’m only eighteen years old—they barely know I exist!
WHITE TEXT BOX: So far, most of them pretend I don’t!
Lower right: Priya grabbing her sister’s outstretched hand, laughing. Nina smiling but still embarrassed.
PRIYA: I’m sure you’ll grow into it. Grandmother was the Ancient One for years and yearsPapa says that she had to spank most of the Elders when they were my age!

Page 8
1 panel as top 1/3 of page, 3 staggered panels like overlapping photographs spread out make up bottom 2/3.
Top panel: Nina and Priya walking away from camera, toward their hut, arms around each other.
PRIYA: You just have to make them respect you!
NINA: I wish Mother was here…
PRIYA: Me too.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …because I don’t think I can pull this off.
Middle left (bottom of stack): A much younger Nina and Priya, both in skirts, run playfully near the treeline. A panther-like horned cat stalks them between the trees.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “Some memories fade easily, like what your mother might have said about not playing beyond the eastern fields.”
Middle (middle of stack): A shadow falls across Priya’s face, and she looks terrified.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “But others are with you forever, always just beneath the surface…”
Lower right (top of stack): As the cat lunges out of the trees at the two girls, a woman lunges to meet it, spear in hand.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “…no matter how hard you want to forget.”

Page 9
3 panels, each about 1/3 the page, slightly overlapping like last page – this will be our normal “flashback” method, very different style than the “current” action.
Top panel: The cat swipes its claws deep into the woman’s middle as she spears it through the throat, the girls looking on in terror.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “We never heard her yelling to us.”
Middle panel: Priya on her knees, holding her mother’s hand, Nina running off-panel. The dead cat lies nearby half-seen.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “I’d never run so fast in my life.”
Bottom panel: Nina running, arms up, shouting at a man in the village (her father) who looks up surprised.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “Father would know what to do. He had to.”

Page 10
3 panels, each 1/3 of the page.
Top: Completely blank, black.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “He said if we prayed hard enough…”
Middle: Present. An uncut stone in what is clearly a graveyard, the name Triya Kahm-Mira on it.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “…the Spirits would save her.”
Bottom: Priya and Nina holding hands, backs to camera, looking off at the graveyard in the distance.
WHITE TEXT BOX: We prayed for hours.

Page 11
Top half divided horizontally into 2 panels, bottom half divided equally in four panels.
Top: Priya and Nina from waist down, bracing as the ground rumbles beneath them (division between this panel and the next is a big series of jagged lines representing the rumbling).
Upper middle: Priya excited, Nina a mix of fatalistic and sardonic.
PRIYA: It’s almost time! You better get ready!
NINA: The Ancient One can’t be late to her first ritual?
Lower middle left: Close up on Priya’s face, looking very “what did I just tell you?”
PRIYA: Nina!
Lower middle right: Close up on Nina’s face, rolling her eyes.
NINA: I know, I know…
Bottom left: Nina, face down, eyes closed, looking scared.
NINA: …I have to take this more seriously—
Bottom right: Priya leaving, waving over her shoulder as she half-turns.
PRIYA: Just make sure the Spirit’s not late!
WHITE TEXT BOX: —if I’m going to fool everyone tonight.

Page 12
Six stacked panels of flashbacks. In each panel, Enna slowly puts on the full regalia of the Ancient One.
Upper left: Enna in normal dress, in her hut with a young Nina (this is just hours after Triya’s death).
ENNA: Nina, you will be the Ancient One when I am gone.
Upper right: Buttoning up the elaborate dress, Nina protesting.
NINA: No, gram—
ENNA: You will represent the Spirits to our people.
Middle left: Arranging the ornate necklaces.
ENNA: You must be wise…
Middle right: putting on the slippers.
ENNA: …and strong…
Lower left: putting on the headdress.
ENNA: …but most of all…
Lower right: turning now to the camera, looking extremely wise and powerful.
ENNA: You must keep a secret:

Page 13
10 panels in two columns.
Top left: A close up shot of a box full of odd packets and bottles that Nina has opened.
GRAY TEXT BOX: —The Kahm have no Spirits.
Top right: fingers sorting through the box.
NINA (off panel): Think, Nina! What did Grandmother teach you…
Upper left: Fingers pulling out a small leather pouch.
NINA (off panel): Withervine needles…
Upper right: Fingers taking needles out of the pouch and tucking them up her sleeve.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …to make the fire burn blue!
Middle left: Fingers grabbing tufts of cotton.
NINA (off panel): Fire cotton…
Middle right: Tucking the cotton into hollow walnut shells.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …to make it flash and blind them!
Lower left: Fingers selecting a small corked bottle.
NINA (off panel): Nectar from the madris blossom…
Lower right: Dripping the liquid into one eye, the other already turned a milky white.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …for milky eyes, like the Spirits speak through me!
Bottom left: Taking out a bundle of aloe vera -like leaves.
NINA (off panel): Leaves from the Maiden’s Tears…
Bottom right: Weaving the leaves into the torch heads.
WHITE TEXT BOX: …will make the torches sputter and go out.

Page 14
The lower left corner of the page is being lifted up like a tent flap (it’s the hanging between the Ancient One’s hut’s living area and the ritual room). From the point where the tent flap meets the page, several other lines with the same type of slope stream out in other directions, making 4 different panels, to be read counter clockwise from the top right.
Top right: Tight shot in on Nina buttoning up the dress, the necklaces askew, her bracelets falling off.
WHITE TEXT BOX: Grandmother always looked so….powerful in this.
Upper left: Nina from the shoulders up, trying to balance the headdress and clearly not doing great.
Lower left: The Elders entering the ceremonial hut (not the one Nina is in).
Bottom right: Nina peeking her head out of the tent flap.
NINA (whispering): Time for my big entrance

Page 15
Full page image of Nina in the ceremonial outfit. She is blushing. There is a small bonfire burning in the center of the room, it is bursting huge in front of her as she just swept into the ritual chamber. We are looking over the shoulders of the Elders. A line of bright torches light up the perimeter of the room.
NINA: I am the ANCIENT ONE! [in a major awesome font]
WHITE TEXT BOX: Why do I look so…ridiculous?

Page 16
4 even panels stacked on top of each other.
Panel 1: Nina striking a pose, making ritualistic signs with her hands. The Elders we can see are clearly evaluating her performance.
NINA: Attend, ye Elders of the Kahm!
GREY TEXT BOX: “The first time you must do this ritual, Nina—”
Panel 2: Nina sweeping her hands out over the bonfire in the center of the room. The flames have turned a bright blue, coloring everything in the room.
NINA: I am Leader of the Fire!
GREY TEXT BOX: “—will be the most important.”
Panel 3: Nina grabbing a ritualistic spear with a leaf-shaped blade as the torches in the room sputter.
NINA: I am Binder of the Leaf!
GREY TEXT BOX: “It will be your introduction.”
Panel 4: The torches are out, the blue fire casting an unearthly glow on Nina’s face as we pull closer.
GREY TEXT BOX: “And it will be sooner than you or I could wish. (cough, cough!)”

Page 17
4 even panels stacked on top of each other.
Panel 1: The fire erupts in a blinding flash. Nina’s eyes are closed, ready for it.
NINA: I am the Dawnbringer!
GREY TEXT BOX: “You have had the least training of any Ancient One in living memory.”
Panel 2: The fire burns brightly as Nina beings weaving intricate symbols with her hands.
GREY TEXT BOX: “The burden will be great.”
Panel 3: Nina opens her solid-white eyes wide as we are right in on her face.
NINA: I am the Soulseeker!
GREY TEXT BOX: “The Elders do not know…”
Panel 4: Nina now has her hands up in supplication. Her headdress teeters maybe.
GREY TEXT BOX: “…must not know.”

Page 18
6 panels in two columns.
Upper left: Noal (Nina’s father) winks and smiles at her. He’s very proud of his daughter.
GREY TEXT BOX: “You must not slip.”
Upper right: Nina blushes, rolls her eyes.
NINA (whispering): Oh, father!
GREY TEXT BOX: “Do not forget what you are about!”
Middle left: Nina visibly steadies herself, gathering herself for the grand finale.
GREY TEXT BOX: “Give them a grand show…”
Middle right: Nina glaring now as she concentrates.
NINA: And I am
GREY TEXT BOX: “..and they will be yours forever.”
Lower left: Nina shouting.
NINA: the Bane
WHITE TEXT BOX: “But you’re saying that, like every Ancient One before me…”
Lower right: Nina with arms wide open, shouting.
WHITE TEXT BOX: “…nothing will happen!”

Page 19
5+ panels, radiating in lightning flashes from the middle of the page. Clockwise from 12:
Panel 1: Giant hole ripped in roof.
Panel 2: A white light knocks two Elders to the ground.
ELDER: Ooof!
Panel 3: The bonfire explodes, parts of the hut catch on fire.
Panel 4: Nina rubbing her eyes, blocking her face. Her headdress is gone.
Panel 5: A white light knocks over torches and a scroll rack.
BLACK TEXT BOX: This is how my tale begins.

Page 20
Full page spread with an inset bar toward the bottom. We are looking over Nina’s shoulder at the Elders (including Noal), kneeling or fallen in disarray, staring in disbelief at a human figure limned in white light (the Guardian spirit), lying on the floor.
BLACK TEXT BOX: Not with fire and brimstone…
GUARDIAN (Spirit voice): The Seal…has been…breached.
Inset panel: Tight close up of Nina’s face, absolutely shocked.
BLACK TEXT BOX: …but with a whisper.


Issue 2

Page 1

I want this issue to start with Nina leaving Kahm. She is upset and doesn’t want to go. She has a backpack on, and is using a tribal spear as a walking stick.
2 panels, bisecting the page horizontally.
Panel 1- Nina is on a rise, looking back at her village. A text box reads: I used to dream about leaving Kahm.
Panel 2- She turns to look ahead of her, towards us, wind in her hair. Text box: But never like this.

Page 2-3

2 page splash. Then we get our first glimpse of the whole valley. Over her shoulder we see it massive expanse. Khorivar is distant, a forest is in between Nina and the volcano. Beyond, there are other ecosystems. The sky is like a perpetual sunset, with many colors, but no sun to focus on. Text box: Not with the fate of the valley on my shoulders. Text box: I wonder what Grandmother would say about this.

Page 4

flashback to the ritual hut, 2 tremors ago.
Full page spread of the aftermath of issue 1 with 2 smaller boxes at either bottom corner. The spirit is on the ground, a huge hole in the ceiling. Elders knocked down and Nina is standing over the spirit her hand covering her mouth. White wisps are flowing up from the guardian. Text box: No way!
Lower left panel has an image of Noal, shocked saying: no… The prophecy…
Lower right panel has the chief elder saying: In the flesh, a spirit comes.

Page 5

9 panels, spread out like the Brady bunch, with Nina’s face in the middle square, each elder is represented, with one showed twice, elder or Noal. They in turn recite the prophecy with Nina looking confused in the middle.

Page 6

We need to show the guardian disappearing, maybe exploding into an ethereal cloud with the tendrils curling around and shooting towards Nina. I think Nina should start to say something and be interrupted by the vanishing. Like: what’s going… Bang! Elder says: the signs are complete. We must prepare at once. Everyone leaves the tent except for Nina. She says: Prepare for what?

Page 7

Noal takes the time to explain the prophecy to Nina in English. While the elders give her provisions. Noal: at the next tremor, you must go out into the valley and defend your people. It is the only way. Etc.
end flashback

Page 8

A shot of Nina climbing down a steepish hillside. It could be a forested area with stumps and bushes. Nina thinking: “This is ridiculous! I don’t know where to go, I don’t know what to do. Save our people they say. Oh, is that all?” Nina climbs a stump and shouts: “Fine! I’m the Soul Seeker. I can do this. Hey! Spirits! I’m…. Seeking you!”

Page 9

She stands with her arms raised and outstretched. Nothing. She lowers them… then a green sprite hovers in front of her. It lands on her nose. Nina: huh…

Page 10

A funeral pyre is burning in the twilight. From behind we see Noal, Priya, and Nina standing near it. Noal and priya eventually leave. Nina stands alone. Now seeing Nina’s face, an elderly hand rests on her should. A voice says, “Come child. It is time to start your training.”

Page 11-13?

An interior of a hut, the view fixes on Nina, her grandmother speaks from off panel. Each panel gets closer and closer to Nina, eventually just encompassing her eye. (to transition to after the flashback)
Nina: What do you mean there are no spirits.
Gma: No, there are spirits, just not for the Kahm.
Nina: So it was all… lies? (tearing up)
Gma: Not lies, tradition. It has always been this way. My mother, and her mother… your mother…
Nina: …mother…?
Gma: she was chosen to be the ancient one, just as I was, just as you are now…
Nina: wait! she didn’t have a chance, did she? When father brought her to you… it was all in vain..
Gma: I did what I could, with herbs… and prayer.
Nina: Prayer! But you just said-
Gma: I said that Kahm has no spirit. I had hoped that other spirits would aid her.
Nina: Other spirits…?
Gma: Yes, there are spirits out there, and they can be quite helpful.
end flashback

Page 14-ish

Back with Nina, she is standing on the stump and a green pixie thing is on her nose. We now zoom out from her eye/face. “Well this looks like a spirit.” The pixie flies off and heads towards the woods, leaving a green trail. “Hey! Wait!” Nina yells and scrambles after it.

Page 15

The pixie settles down on a downed tree. Nina is stalking up from behind, the view is constant, we just see her getting closer and closer. Nina text boxes: So the first spirit I ever see destroys my ritual hut and heralds the destruction of my people. The second leads me on a merry chase across the valley. So far… Spirits suck.

Page 16

Nina manages to sneak up behind the spirit without it flying away. She puts her face really close to it and tries to communicate with it.
Nina: Hello, my name is Nina. (no response)
Nina: So… what kind of spirit are you? (no response)
A large shadowy figure rises up behind Nina.
Nina: Do you know what the beneath is?
The spirit flits away, Nina’s eyes are drawn to the side and she notices the thing behind her.

Page 17

Nina dives to the side, narrowly misses being mauled by a giant bear (that may have some cool features to it that make it unique). We see a large claw destroy the log she was crouching by, we see her roll away, then we see the bear on its back legs, standing tall, Nina’s back is in the foreground. The bear roars and Nina raises her spear but looks totally unsure with herself and very frightened.

Page 18

Nina’s makes a move to stab the bear, and it knocks away her spear. She puts her hands up in a desperate gesture. In a white text box: What do you mean there are no spirits? Nina looks up, her eyes whited out. No more fear on her face, and her posture becomes more assertive. In a white text box: No, there are spirits, just not for the Kahm. A white aura begins glowing around Nina and you see her leap into the air.

Page 19

Quick shots of her hurtling over the beast, landing with a roll, snatching up her spear, spinning around and adopting an aggressive posture, like a trained spear fighter.

Page 20

A full page spread, the shot is over the bears shoulder. The bear is snarling and Nina is glowing in a spiritual aura, ready to kick butt. In a white text box: …and they can be quite helpful.

End of issue 2.

Arc 2 Outline

So I’d like to introduce the volcano people here, but not do the heart of the volcano story yet. We need to save priya. I don’t know how long to drag that out. I want the volcano people to maybe be perceived as villains at first. They are menacing looking, live in a fiery volcano, the archetypical villain, but then we find out they are honorable, perhaps a bit cold and aloof, but good people with the valleys best interest at heart. They want to guard and protect khorivar. We need to introduce them to our heroes in a cool way, then have them help save priya. Maybe a peak into the villain and his plans to destroy khorivar.

Issue 7
Open on a Khorivan male running through a large stone hallway, perhaps lava, have some villianous text boxes. Have him approach a Khorvan female and say something like, “Mother, Khorivar is restless, the beneath is rising.” She responds “Then our task is nearly complete.”
Jump back to Nina and Kennick and the forest spirit(?).

Issue 8

Issue 9

Issue 10

Issue 11

Issue 12

Arc 1 outline

1- introduction of everyone in Kahm, Nina’s job and feelings about it, lack of a spirit in Kahm, and the guardians return. The importance of the talisman is discussed. I think when the guardian returns, we should have some black text boxes that are what the antagonist is thinking as he breaks into the valley.

2- aftermath of the return, revelation of the prophesy, and Nina being kicked out of her village with a vague duty. intro of the villain? Perhaps flashbacks to her training with gma and her learning the trickery, I think it should start with her mothers funeral. She finds out that her mother couldn’t have been saved by the spirit they prayed too, cause for the Kahm tribe, they don’t exist. Ends with Nina following a glowing sprite into a she bears territory and her being attacked, her powers flair, knocking her down (and out?). She manifests the power of some kind of quick reflex defense animal, dodging out of the way of the bear in the last panel.

3- she attempts in vain to defend herself. Her talisman is torn free. She is saved by Kennick. She is maybe afraid of him? should they fight? They walk for awhile. Maybe a flashback of more training. perhaps on her duties as leader in general, not just religious. she would be a representative of her people to others, so maybe some tutelage in that regard. explore their differences. He is on his way back from doing something (a secret?) and they encounter the scar. Arbormancer has never encountered the scar before, it is all new to him. They have a fight of some sort and scramble back to his village. It is in shambles and being on consumed by the scar. End.

4- the village elders want to cleanse the village and move on, or just leave people behind. They have no compassion for the afflicted (that’s part of their survivalist culture). Perhaps the flashback in this issue could be of Nina protecting an innocent at the village… an animal or a child from bullies or brigands. I really am shaping this first arc like LOST where there are flashbacks that echo with what is happening in the story. There should be a fight between Nina and the elders. they go to kill the sick ones and Nina attempts to interfere. they try to go through her, she gets hurt and she defensively goes into the avatar state. This can be other ppl’s first sight of her awesome spirit powers. everyone is shocked, awed, amazed, and stunned, including Nina. she’s all “what did I do?” does she have a memory of what she does? I feel more like she doesn’t realize she’s doing it and doesn’t see it until she learns to use it. They leave the sick and attempt to rebuild elsewhere. The heroes stay behind and try to fix/save the people. Nina thinks this could be her duty, so she bosses some people around and has them start taking care of each other. She and Kennick seek out the forest spirit to help them heal the afflicted. They encounter a desecrated forest spirit, a zombie tree.

5- flashback to what the villain has been doing? Ideas for this: what if this villain loses his body on the way in and can only inhabit corpses? He is left essentially a spirit.. Something he loathes… He is stuck jumping from creature to creature, looking for a more powerful vessel? We can see this process and how it leads to kennicks forest, and the scar, infection of the spirit. He could stumble into the grove of the spirit and be transferring his essence, the spirit appears and looks menacingly down on the antagonist in his rabbit body (or something). Cut to a full page spread of a battle between the heroes and the spirit. we see the villain in an animal body observe the battle begin, then it stalks away, muttering something. Another idea is that he is already flesh, with his own weakened body.

6- the spirit is solid and in the shape of a zombie tree. It is mobile and dangerous. It has been corrupted and the scar is spreading out before it. there is a cool fight, we see fun stuff from Kennick, some intuition fighting from the talisman (the guardian). Perhaps some flashbacks to Ninas interactions with priya. get to the nature of their relationship. tie it in to the fight thematically somehow. Our heroes are close to losing, the elders show up, Kennick begs them for aid, they refuse and vanish. The heroes pull a victory out of their butt. The spirit is restored, it recognizes something in Nina. Priya reveals herself. Then is kidnaped by the elders. End.

Issue 1

Page 1
Full page spread: Surface world, sun visible, Titans fighting each other over a decimated city landscape, taller than the buildings, crushing and destroying everything in their wake as ant-size humans flee in panic.

Page 2
4 equal panels, dividing the page into 4 horizontal bars
Panel 1 – One Titan just clocks the other, he’s about to fall right onto some kind of tenement building and crush it
Panel 2 – Two 12-yr-old kids, 1 boy 1 girl, are putting obstacles in the path of a line of ants as they try to haul food back to their anthill
Panel 3 – Closer view of the Titan falling onto the tenement building, ant-size humans are jumping from the windows trying to flee before he crushes them
Panel 4 – The 12 yr old boy is jamming a stick down the hole in the anthill

Page 3
6 square equal panels
Panel 1 – the Titan is sprawled out on a destroyed building. A human has landed on him in the chaos.
Panel 2 – The downed Titan brushes off a human that landed on him, from the building. In the background, the other Titan readies a finishing blow.
Panel 3 – A close up of an ant on the child’s hand, the girls eye and face in the background as she studies the insect.
Panel 4 – The final blow is struck, causing a wave of fiery distraction that imolates the surrounding area.
Panel 5 – A low angle of the boy kicking the anthill, destroying it.
Panel 6 – A wider shot of the Titan standing in a a decimated town, a ring of destruction and human corpses are visible. A voice from off panel says “What do you two think you’re doing?”

Page 4
The first view of our heroine. A full page spread. (With a small box in the corner reserved for the kids reaction) She is standing with her hands on her hips. A scowl on her face. The children are in the foreground. A bustling village is in the background. She is wearing her everyday clothing. She says “how would you like it if I came and stomped on your home?” The boy hurumphs and crosses his arms, the girl looks sheepish. “You may not respect life but you will respect me!”

Page 5-6
A panoramic view of the village, people are out and about, doing their business, People are working, selling, chopping wood, gossiping etc. the village has been build in a large depression dug in the ground, the streets are dirt with a small amount if stone. The buildings are almost entirely made of straw. People wear earth tones mostly. I want there to be 4 different images of Nina and Priya (the 10 year old girl) as they walk through this scene. The girls interact with each other and the village people. At first Nina is dragging priya away. Nina says “how many times do I have to tell you, do not play with Willi Kahm-Conger. He is a bad influence on you.” Priya responds “I try Nina, but it’s hard making friends when your big sister is the Ancient One. They think you’ll show up and start bossing them around.” Nina: "priya… " A villager heralds “Oy! Good afternoon, Ancient One” Nina waves in an annoyed fashion. She says to Priya “I wish they’d stop calling me that.” Priya responds “But that’s what you are, the ancient one.” NINA: not you too? Priya: it’s should be an honor. Nina: one I didn’t ask for. Priya makes a grand gesture: Leader of the fire! Nina looks annoyed: this way torches, follow me! Priya: Binder of the leaf! Nina: don’t forget the twigs. Priya: Dawn bringer! Nina: Don lives down that street right? Priya: Soul seeker! Nina: Ghostbuster! Priya: Bane of the Beneath! Nina: come on. Seriously. All of those titles are ridiculous.

More dialog

Priya: they may seem ridiculous to you, but those titles are very important to our people. Nina: How did you get to be so smart? Priya: You weren’t the only one who had to memorize this stuff as a kid. Nina: that’s right. grandmother made you memorize it too. Priya: You’re the lucky one, to be chosen as her replacement. Nina: Chosen is the key word… Not asked. Priya: get over yourself, you are now the Ancient One, and leader of our people. Nina: Pfft, tell that to the Elder Council. They treat me like a 10 year old girl…. No offense. Priya: Look, today is your first major rite as Ancient One. Just go in there and make them take you seriously. Nina: Grandmother led so naturally. She spoke and the elders listened. Priya: Grandmother was Ancient One for 35 years, I’m sure she didn’t become great over night. Nina: yeah, but she wasn’t raised at the ripe old age of 17 like I was. Priya: Just because you are the youngest Ancient One in Kahm history, doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve their respect. Just follow your training and it will all be okay. Nina: I wish mother was here… Priya: Yeah, me too. the ground rumbles hey, you better hurry up and get ready. It’s almost time for the ritual. Nina: yeah, okay. Priya, waving to Nina as she hurries away: have fun summoning the village spirit! Nina internal monologue: All I have to do is summon the spirit… Right. If only it was that easy. If only there was a spirit to summon. If only I weren’t a fraud.

flashback. Then.
All dialog in this section will be Nina’s internal monologue. Nin and Priya are in a field, near the tree line. They are running playfullly. “there are some memories that fade with time, like what you ate for dinner that one time.” A shadow falls over Priya’s face, and she looks terrified. “Or that your mother told you to never range past the eastern feilds.” A creature lunges at them knocking them to the ground. “But other memories will be with you forever.” A woman tackles the creature from the side. The creature slashes her in the gut. then runs away. “No matter how much you want to forget them.” They stand over her, unsure what do to. “We didn’t even hear her yelling.” Nina dashes away. “I told Priya to stay with her, I’d get father, He’d know what to do.” I shot of her running flat out “I’d never run so fast. I heard Priya’s cries the whole way.” She reaches the village and appears to be yelling. “He didn’t say a word.” Nina stands alone, while others gawk. “He was gone for what seemed like an eternity.” He appears on the horizon, carrying a person, Priya follows behind. “When he came back, he was white as a spirit.” They meet at a house. “He gave me a weak smile.” “Don’t worry, he said.” He walks in, leaving Nina alone outside. “The spirits will save her.” end flashback

Setting Ritual hut interior. Seven men of all shapes and sizes are sitting in a circle. They are shirtless and all have hair of different length. Their facial and arm patterns are large and unique, powerful seeming perhaps. There is a fire in the middle of the hut and many shelves and wall hangings, perhaps spears, shields, etc…

The eldest of the elders, totally gray and bald with a long beard speaks. we need to think of cool stuff for here. The prophecy, the ritual, they must call the ancient one into the hut, Nina enters with her ridiculous ceremonial dress on. Se looks really embarrassed. Her dad winks at her, she blushes. We need to figure out her tricks, powder for the fire etc… As she works on her tricks, we can have her inner monologue in white, paired with the villains inner monologue in black. There is a bright flash, a loud crack, maybe a shock wave, the guardian bounces around the hut, knocking over many things, tossing dust into the air. He ends up sprawled on the ground, face up. Everyone is shocked, most of all Nina. I think we should show everyone’s shock before we reveal what made all the ruckus. The final page is a full page of the hut with everyone looking at the spirit. A white whispey version of a villager, perhaps with cool clothes. He says “it comes…. From beneath…” The villains monologue in black “I COME.”

End of issue 1

How this is going to work...
The nuts and nuts

In general, I think we can use 4 sections of this site. I think the main page is great for general discussion, planning, brainstorming, etc. it is where we can get some work done. I think the wiki and character pages will help us keep our plan straight. I added some characters with potential name ideas, any finalized character details should go on the characters page I think. And finally, the adventure log… I think this would be a good place for scripting. The blog structure I think would be a beneficial one to our writing efforts. Your thoughts?


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