Webcomic profile: Grayling
Grayling
It's a god eat god world.
Last update: 2 days ago, 6:00 AM
Violent Content Occasional Frontal Nudity Sexual Situations Occasional Strong Language
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In so many stories about fantasy worlds, the protagonist encounters some ancient gods who have been locked away for zillions of years, and possess incredible wisdom. They are usually reserved, grave, dignified, and powerful. They point the protagonist in the right direction and aid him in every way they can, which is usually not so very much. They vaguely recall massive wars and squabbles with each other that stretched over hundreds of years and impacted the lives of mortals worldwide. Their histories, and their motives, are mysterious.

Grayling is a story about a few such gods and how they got that way.

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arborwin
Grayling page 0878 Transcription

In the first panel, Cal frantically accesses his tablet while Fola glitches wildly in front of him. "Just a moment," Cal mutters, sweating profusely.

In the second panel, Fola springs back into his usual shape. He no longer has his hacker skull suit, and is just wearing his normal clothes, the ones he came in with. Cal looks sheepish but relieved. "There, all better."

In the third panel, Cal tries to give the whole thing a little hand wave as Fola stares on, stunned. "Sorry, it can get very glitchy when I enter these spaces," Cal says.

Cal looks worried anew in the fourth panel as he gazes at something off panel that we cannot see. Fola also stares nervously forward at whatever has appeared. "But that...is probably not a glitch," Cal says.

In the last panel, we see Cal and Fola from behind. They stand on the rounded edge of the green floating island they landed in, gazing into the deep, dark, blue abyss off the edge. A hazy, white figure has appeared in the blue, and is apparently descending towards them. Cal mutters to himself, "Damn it. I thought this wouldn't be a creepy one."
Author Note
arborwin
Grayling page 0877 Transcription

In the first panel, Cal and Fola are seen holding hands and dropping through the hole into a world with a green ground and a blue sky. It is very simple and bare looking, like a video game.

In the second panel, Cal's feet hit the ground.

In the third panel, we have a distance view of Cal and a glitched out 3D model that is supposed to be Fola. Fola is glitching and clipping all over the place, but Cal hasn't noticed yet. He says, "Huh, I chose well. This is quite beautiful, isn't it?"

In the third panel, Cal is still gazing off into the blue sky, not looking at Fola. "Fola?" he says.

In the last panel, Cal finally turns around, dismayed and horrified as he screams "FOLA?!" Fola is spinning in a pillar of artifacting and clipped 3D rigging.
Author Note
arborwin
Grayling page 0876

"But for these funky areas, extra steps are needed." Cal summons a stick from the air in the first panel. It appears in his hands with a *poof.* "It's not just a material repair job, but a psychic one."

In the second panel, Fola says, "A stick?" holding his finger to his skull mask in a gesture of puzzlement. Cal is smiling a bit. "I'm gonna poke it," he says, his shoulder jiggling as he moves the stick with his left hand.

In the third panel, we have a closeup of the stick sinking into the soft corroded area, which has a rainbow sheen, but is a lot more yellow than the surrounding healthy cable. "Some of them are incredibly hard, and I have to saw them open," Cal continues. "Others, like this one, are pretty soft."

Cal squats down and scrapes with his stick in the fourth panel. Fola passes his left hand over the top of his skull mask, hovering over Cal and watching him. "Next I make an opening just big enough for the two of us..."Cal says.

The fifth panel shows the hole Cal has gouged in the cable, clearing away all the rotten stuff and just leaving a creepy black pit surrounded by smaller cables. It is dark and creepy, like a cave on an alien planet. "There. All done," says Cal.

In the last and sixth panel, Cal locks arms with Fola, looking a little excited. "Now, we jump in," Cal says. Fola, startled, whips his head around to stare at him. "Just like that?!" Fola says. "Uh huh."
Author Note
arborwin
Grayling page 0875 Transcription

In the first panel, Fola and Cal are shown looking at the discolored area on the cable after floating across the gap to get closer. Cal is looking over at Fola and using his left hand to gesture towards him. Cal says, "No, please do not touch anything yet. Interacting with it might suck you in before you're ready." Fola says, "Uh, so, what are we in for?" "At this point, I can only guess at what's inside based on some readings," Cal responds.

In the second panel, Cal gazes with rapt attention at his computer tablet, scrolling through some data. "Hm...Not TOO weird," Cal says. "It LOOKS extremely disgusting," says Fola. "Everything here is aesthetic," Cal says. "Even so, I made it to look bad because it IS bad."

The third panel shows the computer monitor, office chair, and table that were back in the original, minimalist sandbox space. Cal continues from off panel, "Common, small problems can be handled remotely from my console, and mostly accomplished with the aid of bots."

Cal's speech continues in the fourth panel, a larger shot of the twisting, gnarly cables winding in all directions in Cal's simulated lagoon. Cal's explanation continues from off panel, "A massive corruption like this requires me to handle it personally. These instances occur when really bad things happen to a lot of living things. Disasters erode the integrity of these channels, destroying the relationships that connect these living things together."

In the last panel, we see a crudely drawn diagram of Cal in blue, and Lem in green. Cal is pointing up at a drawing of a channel, in the same color blue as Cal. Lem's green magic is shown flowing through the blue channel. Cal says from off panel, "I try to restore them as best as I can. I oversee the channels...and Lem controls the flow of energy through them."
Author Note
arborwin
Grayling page 0874 Transcription

The first panel shows Cal and Fola are still wearing their skull-helmet hacker outfits. Cal, grabbing Fola's hand, says, "Ah, never mind. Let's go this way," leading him away to panel left.

In the second panel, Cal and Fola are seen from a distance, standing among a looming forest of horizontal cables going off in all directions above and below them. Cal says, "My data still isn't quite as smooth as I'd hoped. I have to go by my gut most of the time."

Cal looks exasperated in the third panel as his skull mask disappears with a poof and he mutters, "Ugh, enough of this mask on my face," Fola expressionless (possibly disapproving) behind him.

In the fourth panel, Cal points off to panel right, smiling a little bit. "Oh, see. There it is," Cal says. Fola says, "You can SEE it?" "Yes. That's the whole point of this," Cal says. "To see things."

The thing Cal is pointing at is shown to the reader in the fifth panel. It's a yellowish, bulging, disgusting looking boil on the side of one of the larger cables, across from where Cal and Fola are standing. "See that bulge in the cable?" Cal says. "The corrosion is pretty bad on this one."

In the sixth panel, Cal is shown floating through the air, holding onto Fola's hand so that he trails behind him. Cal says, "Big cables like this have hundreds of souls in them. One off soul spoils the lot, like rotten fruit. But we'll only know what's really going on once we enter the corrosion and focus on our target."

"This is just the process of locating the problem?" Fola says in the last and seventh panel. "This is a lot of work." Cal, looking exhausted and exasperated in the foreground, responds, "Well, I'm doing it manually as a demonstration for you, today. I don't usually jump this many hoops."
Author Note