Once, in this very universe, you could say, Alternia was home to a peaceful race. Trollkind had never known the corrupting influence in their evolution which led them to perpetual war and violence.
That is to say, they had never known me.
As was true of the bellicose world we know, there came to be twelve heroes on this peaceful planet. These heroes too had twelve ancestors whose fortunes were entwined with theirs. These twenty-four figures of legend were not of this world but sent from the sky, delivered from a reality not yet conceived.
On the eve of their race's extinction, the twelve heroes would begin playing a game. They would make an admirable effort, but they would fail. Their civilization had not prepared them for the rigors of this game, and the ultimate reward would fall shy of their grasp. But their failure was more comprehensive, more systemic, than a result of simple inadequacy so common to young players of this game. Though they could not recognize it for the bad omen it was, this session was not the one in which they had been spawned. Such is the symptom of a subtle glitch affecting certain sessions, an error designed to trigger an unfathomable cascade of misfortune throughout paradox space. This glitch is the calling card of the one I serve. It is the discreet, gentlemanly manner in which he reserves his place in a universe for later visitation.
The heroes, understanding their defeat was absolute, sought advice from the mother of all monsters. She offered them a choice. The heroes could either accept their defeat along with the extinction of their race, and put no others at risk. Or, she could show them a path to a second chance, to a reality in which the chosen heroes of their race would be strong enough to succeed with ease, and claim the reward. This reset would come at the cost of wiping the failed heroes from existence. They would live new lives from scratch, playing different roles in the reset reality, with no memory of the game they played or the choice they made.
The heroes chose to accept this bargain, and scratched their session. In doing so they jumpstarted the reality in which the twenty-four figures of legend would together be created - and I as well - and then sent back in time to take our places in history. Though I was delivered well before history even began, before the dawning of life on their planet. This time around, I would oversee its development, and thus fulfill the mother's promise of an aggressive, ruthlessly prepared group of heroes. One that would not rest until victory was secured.
The young twenty-four would again be scattered in two groups, twelve modern contemporaries, and twelve ancients. But in addition to losing their memories of everything that had happened before the scratch, there was another catch for the failed heroes. In the new reality, they would not serve as the heroes. They would mature to become the ancestors of the twelve they formerly regarded as theirs, and this twelve would be chosen for glory. These children would be the heroes to achieve victory, and have the reward easily within reach.
Of course this promise was fulfilled to the letter, as you have seen. The entire bargain was executed without a single hitch, as those authorized by my master always are. There was however one minor anomaly. One of the failed heroes, in his new life as an ancient on this now brutal planet, began to remember. This is his story.
So what do we call this pause? I've been batting ideas around all day. We could go with the obvious choice, the MINIGIGAPAUSE. Or maybe, MEGAPAUSE 2: BACK IN THE MEGASADDLE. Or if that makes too much sense, we could always settle on the MICROTERAPAUSE. As you can see, there are so many incredibly intelligent and meaningful things we could call this pause. Deciding how to refer to the pause is an exercise that I will leave to the reader. Feel free to discuss the matter with friends. Or strangers. Anyone who will listen really. If they start to run away, I strongly recommend you chase them.
Why don't we say that A665 begins on 4/13. That's a fun number that we all can get excited about. I have a lot of catch-up work to do between now and then. Not the least of which is drawing the actual content to be posted. But also a lot of gamedev work. Game production is rolling pretty hot right now. Stuff is being churned out almost faster than I can keep track of. Did I mention? I accidentally started running a game studio a little while ago. Whoops, sorry about that. There are all these people being paid to make things happen, and I have to be like "Yeah, keep doing that stuff, everybody." It's getting pretty easy to lose track of how many people work for What Pumpkin. My last estimate was somewhere between 30 and 1000. The true figure is a very frisky moving target.
A6A6A5, a.k.a. Caliborn's Masterpiece, is actually done. It's probably better to hold off posting it until 4/13, when more content will soon follow aftewards. I am sure pausing on that note for months would mess with your head a lot more than the note we're already pausing on. I sometimes feel I have at least a modest responsibility to manage your sanity. It'll be tough sitting on this content though. Tougher than sitting on all of A664 for the better part of a year. I don't think it is out of line to describe it as the best material this website will ever exhibit. It will be all down hill from there, in every direction. Even up.
Speaking of sanity management, way back when, I was pretty on the fence about posting A664 spaced out over months like I did, vs. all at once. Doing the latter in hindsight probably would have been a fucked up thing to do to the internet though. The GAME OVER fallout alone was a bit much as it was. Including it in tandem with the rest of it? Not sure what to make of that. Let's review the CONTENT CRUSH that would have entailed. Bad Anime -> Game Over -> Sadstuck -> Lowas Quest -> 100 retconned panels of oil -> A bunch of other shit -> Punky Serket -> Fantroll Storytime -> 8 password pages -> The Kiss On Horse Mountain -> and finally -> The Punchline. You know, that's an awful lot of baloney to publish. I think the fell-swoop reaction to all that would have been quite a thing to behold, but also, perhaps an irresponsible thing to do to a hapless fanbase after a year in hibernation. I'm told that in 2015, young people are heavily susceptible to "the feels", and trifling with those forces could be injurious to their future development. Wait, did that just sound like something your grandpa would say? Mother fuck, where did I put my cane. Oh right, I snapped it in half from shaking it at the sky.
I may have been in the process of making a point there, but we're going to have to pick this up another time. The comic isn't going to pause itself!!!
Over the last couple months, I have been surreptitiously collapsing several update horses into single, bigger horses. This means A6A6I4 is going to end a little sooner than previously advertised. Same total page count, but finishing sooner. Please consult the important horse calendar below.
So what happens when A6A6I4 is done? I'm not quite sure yet. I'm still working on everything that comes after that. I've written it mostly, but haven't drawn anything yet. There will almost certainly be another pause, but I'm not sure how long it will be yet. I will let you know after 1/19.