For the record, I’m aware of some of the errors in this page. It was the first one I tried to animate and was quite a handful on many levels. I intend to fix it when time permits, but none of the problems are anything that ruins the joke, or whatever, so here it is as it is. I hope you get a kick out of it.
In addition to this page here is a section of creative writing for those of you who enjoy reading. It has nothing to do with Between Failures except that it is based, tangentially, on something that will happen later on in the story. I may add a little to this after the comic posts because what I’m posting right now took about an hour to write, not counting the bits that I wrote in my head when I was falling asleep and when I was in the shower.
The forest wasn’t dense, at least not in this part of it, but Julius had been bumbling around for quite some time in spite of the map he was now peering at quizzically. A tiny dot was labeled with his own name and another with the word destination, and an approximate distance. Apart from that the map was blank. He took a step forward and watched the distance number climb slightly. Turning around, he took two paces in the opposing direction. The number decreased. Scowling, Julius brushed a leaf from his dark hair and began walking again.
It had, perhaps, been a mistake to simply take the map without looking at it first, but when one is handed a map one expects certain things. Topography, for example. When the intermediary handed him the rolled up hide Julius had simply assumed, as would most anyone, that the map would be more than a simple enchantment on a bit of animal skin. This expectation had carried him a fair way into the woods with a confidence that was unwarranted. By the time the trail ran out he was too far in to even think of walking back for an additional map.
He forged ahead and was initially pleased by the simplicity of the enchanted map, until the stream. He scowled at the memory kept fresh by his soaking pants. It looked shallow enough to walk across, and most of it had been. For reasons know only to whatever force controls geology a deep trench had been scraped along the bottom of the river bed. At first it sloped gradually, but near the center of the water it simply dropped off and he was partially plunged into ice cold mountain water. His love affair with the map began to ebb away from that point forward. Somehow Julius had managed to stay on schedule, although he was far more tired than he wanted to be because of his, magically inspired, straight path travel.
Now he was very near his destination. A laborious scramble put him on a ridge that looked down into a wooded valley. He could make out a stone structure built into one edge almost hidden by the trees. At least this bit would be downhill.
He attempted a step, but found his right foot held, quite firmly, where it was. A pair of roots were slowly tightening around his ankle. With a weary sigh he pulled his shortbow from his back. Scanning the ground he quickly found the source of his problem. A willowy tree, several yards away, had vaguely feminine features. A face was nearly obscured by drooping leaves, but he could clearly see a playful smile. He held up his bow so that it gleamed clearly in a ray of light. The tree grinned even wider.
“I’m sorry” He yelled, with his free hand cupped to his mouth. “I’m kind of in a hurry. Maybe when I’m finished, okay?”
The roots had stopped moving, but they hadn’t released him either. The branches of the tree seemed to droop forlornly. The smile faded into a pout. Unfortunately patience Julius might have had for this creature earlier had been spent on a certain bit of cartographic equipment. He fumbled with his quiver for a moment. Two arrows later he found the one he was looking for. One with a sickly purple amber covering the head. He aimed it at the roots and looked towards his new friend.
“I really must insist.” He called out.
The woody face turned away haughtily, albeit much more slowly than would produce the same effect for a human woman, and the roots slowly released their grip. Julius replaced his gear, took a step away, then pitched a candy onto the ground near his former captor’s “feet”, which began transporting it back to her immediately.
The hits just keep coming, he thought to himself as he began stumbling down the slightly steep wall of the valley. After several long minutes of hazardous scrambles Julius finally found himself on mostly level ground. He glanced at his map just to make sure the stone structure was, in fact, his goal and trudged onward.
As he moved closer signs of other architecture became more frequent. Bits of wall and road peppered the mossy ground where trees hadn’t decided to be. The forest became more and more thin as he walked. Soon he could see a clearing in the distance, and at the edge of that clearing stood a woman in light armor.
He slowed his pace even more. People in armor had a tendency to dislike him before getting to know know him on a personal level. Caution was in order. He crept a few more paces forward and crouched behind a log. Carefully he retrieved his bow again, taking aim with no arrow. He looked into the space where an arrow should have been and the tall, blonde, woman was suddenly brought into crystal clear focus.
He armor was blue with gold trim and of a style popular with Elven dragoons. Her mane of hair and green cape moved gracefully in the slight wind. She was leaning casually on a pike with a blade as clear as diamond… and she was looking right at him.