Seaflower is on the road this week, so no comic update- but here are some character sketches, doodles and illustrations I haven’t posted here before!
Hope you enjoyed! Comic will be back next week.
This summer may be full of weird cult activity and necromancer shennanigans, but the Seaflower Institute still has normal work to do.
Well, comparatively normal, I mean. Like, going to check up on an ancient dragon. That kind of normal.
The village of Lyminster in West Sussex is home to Knucker Hole, a supposedly bottomless blue pool. It was in this pool, the legend goes, that the Knucker lived; a fearsome dragon that tormented the local villages, until it was eventually slain- either by a knight in the traditional fashion, or a cunning baker via a poisoned pie.
More likely, the dragon activity subsided due to the dragons hibernation cycle, which typically involves napping for a few hundred years.
We like to keep an eye on the Knucker, so every five years or so, someone goes to check its still alive- and this time it was me and Jesper’s turn. So, armed with dragon repellent and welly boots, we ventured to sussex.
The farmers whose livestock graze in the surrounding fields are certainly taking no chances- as Jesper found out when he accidentally touched the stock fencing.
The pool is pretty secure behind a high gate and barbed wire-topped fence. We were let in, and stood at the edge of the water like two clueless kids on the doorstep of an ancient monster.
One living dragon? Check. Lets not do that again.
‘Beep’ Domesticated Manticore Mardyakhor Mansueti
There are many reasons why people might rehome a manticore bred by Eliza Knights-Herbert of 23 Rose Street, Revery. Most of these reasons relate back to their finicky personailities, or the ability to dissolve things just by looking at them.
Beep, however, was left with us at the institute because she is blind. Her previous family were displeased with her lack of laser vision, and feared she would no longer be an effective burgalar deterrent- a legitimate concern.
Luckily, Beep has found a new forever home, and will only be staying with us briefly before travelling to Gloucestershire- our resident manticore Percy will miss her.
Just as long as there are no experiments done on souls, please, Jesper.
*~Edited to fix typos- thanks Jezz!
A photo diary entry by Thursday Madaki
So, when I joined the SFI no one mentioned the ritual blood-letting. And, since then, it’s only been mentioned in passing- until the other day, when Evelyn said it was time to renew the Whistman contract.
‘I’d send someone else,’ Evelyn said, looking unusually sly, ‘but you haven’t left the archives for days and you need the exercise.’
‘Also the guardian will only deal with me.’
I interrupted then-
Instead of answering my question, Evelyn spoke to Bartholomew.
‘You should take her along.’
I hate it when they do that, like I’m the kid in a group of adults. I mean- I am, technically. But I hate being talked about like I’m not there.
Bartholomew was pulling a face like he was going to say no, so I spoke before he could.
‘I’d love to go!’
If only someone had mentioned it would involve hiking, and creepy blood drinking goat fairies.
Wistmans wood is only half an hour of walking from the main road, but that’s half an hour too much for my liking. I’m not really the biggest fan of the great outdoors, although I can appreciate Dartmoor’s weird brand of bleak beauty.
The drive to get there had been long, made longer by the fact that Jesper listens to recordings of scientific lectures whilst he drives.
Bartholomew and I played i-spy, but he said I cheated when ‘something beginning with A. M.’ turned out to be ‘abject misery’ because it was on HIS face and therefore he couldn’t spy it.
The reason we were driving all this way, then walking over uneven, ankle-twisting moorland, was because in the in the middle of nowhere is the kind of place you find a faerie who goes on vicious murdering rampages if you don’t check in on him every once in awhile.
The first contract was made in 2001, after a farmer who walked in the wood came home to find his sheep gone without a trace. Hikers were poked with invisible pins, and a young couple who carved their names into a tree drowned mysteriously in a shallow pool.
Evelyn, just starting out at Seaflower back then, tracked down the creature responsible, and made a deal. A deal that we were now heading out to reinforce.
The woods were beautiful and completely surreal. The entire floor was made up of huge rocks you had to climb and hop between, the trees were dripping with garlands of moss and lichen.
I barked my shins several times as Jesper led the scramble to the far side of the woods, where we stopped before a small cave formed under rocks and tree roots.
Bartholomew took something from his bag, unwrapping it and lying it on the ground. It was a athame- a ritual knife used in witchcraft.
‘I know you’re there,’ Bartholomew said.
I saw something move in the depths of the dark crevice. Light glinted on a pair of eyes, staring straight back at us.
To be continued in Sunday’s creature post! Please don’t hate me.