By Cat Wyatt
It’s time for another issue of Scales + Soundrels! This issue is different from the others so far, in that it focuses not on Vep, but instead on Dorma. While that makes it different, it’s still an interesting point to be seen. We’ve never really seen much of Dorma’s home life, though we know that she must be heading home to inform her family of her brother’s passing. That would make a return very difficult…
Before we dive into the review though, we should talk about some sad news first. This issue is the second to last of Scales + Scoundrels. Yes, you read that right. Scales + Scoundrels is ending. At least, for now. It seems like the creative team isn’t sure if they’ll be coming back to it, and there’s the possibility that it may continue in another format, but right now we just don’t know. So if you’ve been a fan of the series, it might be nice to let the creative team know that. Either by supporting their work (ie buying some of it) or by sending them a nice message. Anything would surely help.
This issue starts out with a flashback. Considering the fact that Dorma is bringing home her brother’s axe so he may be laid to rest…this makes sense. In the flashback we learn part of the motivation for Dorma to leave her people – she was facing pressure to become something she didn’t want to be. Specifically she was being pressured to join the brides. We don’t know what that is, but based on context alone it’s clear that whatever their duty is Dorma has no interest in it.
We also learn that her brother also wanted to wander. He stayed behind to finish up a couple of things though; otherwise he very likely would have left with her. Based on these few facts we’re left to assume that he stayed behind knowing their village was failing and feeling responsible for it. Likely he went into the cavern that caused his death in hopes of finding treasure; treasure that would help save his people. That means that he almost literally died for them. The question is, does anybody other than Dorma know that?
It’s been so long since Dorma first left that she’s not recognized by most of the people meandering around the village. While they don’t know her face – her purpose is clear. She holds her brother’s axe with reverence. This seems to be a clear symbol to her people – they all know that she’s coming home to lay somebody to rest, even if they don’t know who.
Dorma makes it home without much fuss, finding her grandmother and her parents safe and sound – though devastated by the news. There are a lot of emotions getting stirred up. Joy at seeing Dorma again, grief at losing her brother, anger, abandonment, you name it and somebody in that family experienced it.
With that in mind it’s no wonder that Dorma and her parents ended up quarreling. It’s hard to blame them, and neither side seems capable of understanding the other’s thoughts and emotions. So it’s a pretty typical family misunderstanding, all things considered.
Dorma is painfully aware of what her brother did, or tried to do, for his people. Her parents either know it and can’t accept it, or are too blinded to admit the truth. The truth is that they’re village is failing, and relying on the old ways is only going to doom future generations. But they can’t accept that, so instead they’re going to blame Dorma for leaving. Instead they’ll try and force her to be something she’s not. And that’s just heartbreaking.
Thankfully Dorma is stronger than that. It probably helps knowing that her brother would have her side in this fight; that he agrees with what she’s doing. It seems like her grandmother may as well, but that one’s harder to tell.
With only one task left to complete in this village – laying her brother to rest – it figures that Dorma found a way to get herself in trouble. Dorma is an adventurer, but more than that she’s a truly kind hearted person. That means that when there’s trouble she’s the type to not hesitate for a moment before rushing in to help. Which is how we ended up with this cliffhanger.
Thankfully we know that there’s going to be one more issue left, and that the creative team promised that the next one would finish up this plot. It’s good to know that they’re being considerate towards their fans. There’s nothing worse than having a series suddenly end on a cliffhanger, never to finish its tale. At least this way we’ll know what happens to Dorma.
While it would have been nice to see more of Vep’s adventures, it was actually really fun to learn more about Dorma, her culture, and her trials. It was a good choice to branch out and develop more of the other characters, as it never really felt like Vep was the only main character.
It’s still painful to think of this series ending, but at least it got twelve solid issues out before the end. That’s pretty good, especially for an indie series. Here’s hoping we see the series get revived in some way or form, but if not it’d be nice to see what else the creative team can come up with.
Scales + Scoundrels #11