Brittle Limit is a story written and illustrated by Iron Eater. It originally ran in Issue 64 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/346147.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/brittle-limit/.
The orcish stronghold of Naar Rhoan is taking a shot at politics on a bigger scale than ever before. Naturally, this promptly stirs up lingering worries from its leadership.
The short burst of laughter from Sarouth was enough to draw some looks from others in their group. The Usoans' leader, a fierce-eyed man in a very fancy hat, regarded them coolly. "You're very joyous for such an important occasion, White-Hair," he said, and Riaag suspected he'd kept those words in Usoan to maximize how many of their number understood his displeasure. What was it about that village's leadership that made them such tremendous assholes? At least this one, unlike the last one, hadn't tried to kill him in his sleep.
Insults slid off of Sarouth like water on a goose, though, provided he was in a good mood. "Oh, do not worry, I am well prepared to speak well for us both. We should both leave this place with so many more people wanting to get to know us better." His own Usoan carried a Rhoanish accent that made its clipped syllables and vowel tones that much more musical.
"I am not here to make friends, White-Hair."Sarouth raspberried, puffing out his face-wrap. "See, that is your problem. It is a diplomatic assembly, you should be trying to."
This story's main characters are not human.
This story is the fifth in the Rhoanish Works series. While the author recommends reading the stories in order of publication (in no small part due to increased writing ability and familiarity with the characters), it has been intentionally written so new readers won't feel too left in the cold.
The setting itself is very loosely based on the freeware game Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup.
Some background information for this story was developed during an "Orctober" art challenge, the results of which may be viewed on the creator's Tumblr. While the provided tag is work-safe, venturing outside of #orctober or #orctober-2016 may not be safe for the workplace.
Told you December is orc time.
This was an adventure in editing. While pared down compared to the length and amount of art in last year's story, I think it's for the best, as this has been a dilly of a December for me. I actually excised an entire C-plot to this for the sake of keeping my story lean; my original chapter tally was in the ballpark of 34. That's a book! That's not something that should be written in a matter of weeks! At least I have a plot on hand for next year because of it. Thanks again to Sparklebeard for catching a few leftover plot threads from before I decided to make the cut.
Creating the illustrations for this story ended up taking me the better part of a week, though most of this was due to planning and sketching as opposed to actually inking things. I may save some of my scrapped ideas for later pictures. Riaag in particular changed expression a few times, going from pensive to upset to angry to puzzled by an orange. What was going to be his wolf helmet ended up way too big for the scale I wanted and I think the wolf skull lined with fur is a stronger image, anyway. As for Sarouth, he was originally in a five-panel image (two of his face, two of his tools, and one of him meditating in the sand garden), but egad, I have only so much time in a day. Him flirting is both fitting his character and something the in-story illustrations haven't shown much!
"Manouchihr" is a particularly florid Romanization of a Persian name, while Farouq's surname was borrowed from one of my old Dungeons and Dragons characters because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
This is also one of the first times I've been able to show Sarouth being 1) vulnerable and 2) incredibly petty about an ex, neither of which we get to see much from Riaag's adoring POV. It was a lot of fun, if really intense actually writing out an intense disagreement between two people who are both right to some degree. I've been saving both Sarouth's raiments and Riaag's lack of vocalizing his love for this (I'd originally planned to include it last year!) and whew, what a payoff...
While annotating this I had to juggle some PR issues on a game I moderate, so this seems like a decent amount of background. Hope you enjoyed!