Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#16 Post by steelabjur »

Rafe wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:24 am I originally thought that the image in the lower crystal on the last page was another image of Rose, but when you look at it, it's wearing a top of some kind. Maybe it's Maren, maybe Saria, maybe something in-between.

Image
That's Maren, same color hair (Saria's is light brown) and bikini.

Wouldn't surprise me if Maren was integrated into the "TraceCo R.O.S.E. Automated Home Cleaning and Protection System" as part of "preparing the body" and now it's using her memories and image to try to get rid of the "detritus" in the beach room.

Speaking of protection, we saw Clovis and company moving toward the manor, with what happened to the magic in the beach room, how much you want to bet that the outer defenses are down too?

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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#17 Post by Bellhead »

Yastreb wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:51 pm
MuonNeutrino wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:37 am Edit: Karen also looks to her *right*, which from where she's at would be off the end of the pool, so the 'Maren' voice is coming from somewhere down towards the beach? As in, very close to Mike and Evals? :o
No, the exact opposite. Karen is at the end of the pool that is towards the beach. Mike and Evals are directly below and in front of her. Karen turns back to see that Maren thing, meaning it is at or near the entrance.
Now I'm thinking about it. From Karen's point of view in the next to last panel, the entrance is to the left, waterfall to the right. In the last panel, she looks somewhere between straight back, and quarter turn right, meaning "Maren" is either off into the air, or at the edge of the pool with her. I'd wager she's a projection, airborne, and somewhere off the ledge, none of which would startle Karen, ever the seeker of interesting things.
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#18 Post by MuonNeutrino »

Yastreb wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:51 pm
MuonNeutrino wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:37 am Edit: Karen also looks to her *right*, which from where she's at would be off the end of the pool, so the 'Maren' voice is coming from somewhere down towards the beach? As in, very close to Mike and Evals? :o
No, the exact opposite. Karen is at the end of the pool that is towards the beach. Mike and Evals are directly below and in front of her. Karen turns back to see that Maren thing, meaning it is at or near the entrance.
Look back at panel 6 - Karen is hanging off the side of the platform when she's looking at Mike and Evals, not the end. We can tell she's hanging off the *side* of the platform rather than the end because otherwise you'd be able to see the shut-off waterfall. You can also tell this because Reni seems to be fighting *behind* the wall that Mike and Evals are standing against, which makes sense if they're standing against one of the platform's sides, but not if they're standing against its end. As such. her left side is facing towards the door, and her right side is facing towards the waterfall end of the platform, and you can see the end of the platform just to her right (our left). In the last panel, she's turned her head to her right, which would thus be the exact opposite direction of the door. (Note that you can see the pillars holding up the roof above the door section of the platform *behind* her head in that panel, which should be impossible if she were looking *towards* the door.) She's either looking at something off to her right, which would have to be down towards the beach, or else she's looking over her shoulder at something directly behind her, which would be also at the end of the platform away from the door but just on the other side of it. (Now that you mention it I do think it looks more like she's looking over her shoulder given the angle of her eyes, but that still shouldn't be towards the door.)
Bellhead wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:56 am And judging by the transcript, Rose said those words in red, lending credence to the idea that they're two entities. Or she could just be a split personality now... I mean, we have a clue what dark magic infection does to the mind of the caster when used, but what about if it brought you back from the dead?
I'll note that the transcript says 'provided by iliar', so I wouldn't take that as gospel. Tom's been quite careful to distinguish between the different colors of speech bubbles so far, and we know that the blue-green text from last time was definitely Rose. This could also be Rose, I guess, but if so it's definitely not the *same* Rose because it's different colors. But that discounts the shadow figure behind Trace that is positioned in a way which suggests it is the source of that speech and which is definitely not Rose. I think we'll have to wait and see.

The other thing I will point out is that the blue-green text Rose that was talking last comic strip seemed to have access to all of her memories up until and including the group's arrival at the mansion, because she was explaining things to Trace in a way that wouldn't make sense to do without knowing that Trace had lost his memories. This is significant, because the Red Text Entity seems to *not* have access to all of Rose's current memories, because in comic 1092 it was surprised at Maren's presence, which was something that Rose already knew about. This is another indication that Red Text is some separate entity from Rose.
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#19 Post by Bellhead »

MuonNeutrino wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:56 pm
Bellhead wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:56 am And judging by the transcript, Rose said those words in red, lending credence to the idea that they're two entities. Or she could just be a split personality now... I mean, we have a clue what dark magic infection does to the mind of the caster when used, but what about if it brought you back from the dead?
The other thing I will point out is that the blue-green text Rose that was talking last comic strip seemed to have access to all of her memories up until and including the group's arrival at the mansion, because she was explaining things to Trace in a way that wouldn't make sense to do without knowing that Trace had lost his memories. This is significant, because the Red Text Entity seems to *not* have access to all of Rose's current memories, because in comic 1092 it was surprised at Maren's presence, which was something that Rose already knew about. This is another indication that Red Text is some separate entity from Rose.
That's a fair point... If that's the case, the two entities may well be Undead Rose with her personality and memories intact, and Duplicate Shadow Trace with Dark Trace's paranoia, memories and desire-to-kill-all-in-his-way intact.

And if that's the case, I'm jumping on the bandwagon for Shadow Trace vs Undead Rose, because there's kinda no way that won't happen if that's what's going on now.

EDIT: Just noticed: Behind Karen in the last panel, are those.. rose petals? Could that indicate that this thing IS in fact created solely by the manor in some way?
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#20 Post by Technic[Bot] »

Well when i started reading twokinds 2 years ago i did not expected i would end up reading an horror comic...

by the way is it just me or Mike hip/waist ratio is a bit off?

Anyhow some of might thoughts.
Seems like I was right for a change and Trace did manage to create some Necro-AI thing for his master plan. I mean you would not let the lab wolf rat in charge of the whole operation would you? I would not fear shadow Trace much by itself that thing is in prime position to awaken old Dark Trace, either by stirring Traces old hopes of resurrecting Saria or by convincing him flora lied about their children. And that is the dangerous thing now.

In any case Necro/AI or not there to many new variable Old Trace did not planned for. After all he was, arguably, supposed to bring Maren and resurrect Saria with her body. Not had his mind erased by some demi/god nor father another kid with a tigress. Nor have the manor filled with people, including a royal dragon and a poweful but untrained shapeshifter. On top of that as some of you point out Rose probably has more control over everything than originally planned, so she may try to stop this.

Speaking of Rose I wonder how Trace planned to explained Saria, if his plan worked of course, that she used her best friend for necromancy experiments. I mean he has to know that is not something Saria would want nor approve right? Alas i think he does not care what Saria would want or thinks about this whole mess. All he cared then was himself: Resurrecting his wife and having his revenge against Keidran. In that way he is also an selfish madman.

On a side note the shadow Necro/AI would be another phase of Trace wouldnt it? Now we have og!trace Dark!Trace Shadow!Trace and Nice!Trace. The guy is a one man circus!
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#21 Post by TheMasterOfOats »

So this is a bit off topic, but I was reading the previous chapter and I noticed how cryptic Rose sounded as she said Raine “had potential”.

Knowing now some of the weird crap Rose gets up to, I wonder if she’d use Raine as a host body. She has the knowledge and the equipment Trace used for the Saria/Maren swap (assuming it goes through). She could theoretically put her soul in Raine; she’s the perfect host body, and it’d be a great “screw you” to Euchre.
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#22 Post by Ddraig »

TheMasterOfOats wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:51 am So this is a bit off topic, but I was reading the previous chapter and I noticed how cryptic Rose sounded as she said Raine “had potential”.

Knowing now some of the weird crap Rose gets up to, I wonder if she’d use Raine as a host body. She has the knowledge and the equipment Trace used for the Saria/Maren swap (assuming it goes through). She could theoretically put her soul in Raine; she’s the perfect host body, and it’d be a great “screw you” to Euchre.
I sincerely doubt that that Rose would. She also was desperately concerned about Raine's tendency to overtrust (in her opinion), which demonstrates considerable care for Raine's wellbeing.

Now, Dark!Rose (assuming this most recent example of Rose is a separate version as it appears she is), maybe. We don't know much about her yet. However, Dark!Rose isn't the one who made the comment about Raine's "potential".
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#23 Post by Yastreb »

MuonNeutrino wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:56 pm
Yastreb wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:51 pm
MuonNeutrino wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:37 am Edit: Karen also looks to her *right*, which from where she's at would be off the end of the pool, so the 'Maren' voice is coming from somewhere down towards the beach? As in, very close to Mike and Evals? :o
No, the exact opposite. Karen is at the end of the pool that is towards the beach. Mike and Evals are directly below and in front of her. Karen turns back to see that Maren thing, meaning it is at or near the entrance.
Look back at panel 6 - Karen is hanging off the side of the platform when she's looking at Mike and Evals, not the end. We can tell she's hanging off the *side* of the platform rather than the end because otherwise you'd be able to see the shut-off waterfall. You can also tell this because Reni seems to be fighting *behind* the wall that Mike and Evals are standing against, which makes sense if they're standing against one of the platform's sides, but not if they're standing against its end. As such. her left side is facing towards the door, and her right side is facing towards the waterfall end of the platform, and you can see the end of the platform just to her right (our left). In the last panel, she's turned her head to her right, which would thus be the exact opposite direction of the door. (Note that you can see the pillars holding up the roof above the door section of the platform *behind* her head in that panel, which should be impossible if she were looking *towards* the door.) She's either looking at something off to her right, which would have to be down towards the beach, or else she's looking over her shoulder at something directly behind her, which would be also at the end of the platform away from the door but just on the other side of it. (Now that you mention it I do think it looks more like she's looking over her shoulder given the angle of her eyes, but that still shouldn't be towards the door.)
You are right, I had forgotten about the waterfall. Karen is looking more along the beach, away from Mike and Evals. In the general direction of fighting then? Which is likely not good news for the others.

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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#24 Post by CrRAR »

Something occured to me (of all times) late last night just as I drift asleep, that one of the more significant times we saw Trace "battle" the evil smoke hallucination he was quite skeletal. Seeing him now back there ribs exposed and all, the inky black drippyness seems an all-too appropriate evolution from the sooty blackness. I do not like to believe this is coincidence.

Rather, is this possibly a sign of progression of 'ol smoky gaining form and influence as the plan coalesces AND is it possible evidence of greater dominion than just of Trace's mind?

Only other interpretation I have is that it still is more of a visual manifestation of Trace's closeness to eventual madness, that happens to be paralleling the strain Trace is experiencing from the revelations unfolding, but... nahhhhhhh.
Bellhead wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:59 pm
MuonNeutrino wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:56 pm
Bellhead wrote: Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:56 am And judging by the transcript, Rose said those words in red, lending credence to the idea that they're two entities. Or she could just be a split personality now... I mean, we have a clue what dark magic infection does to the mind of the caster when used, but what about if it brought you back from the dead?
The other thing I will point out is that the blue-green text Rose that was talking last comic strip seemed to have access to all of her memories up until and including the group's arrival at the mansion, because she was explaining things to Trace in a way that wouldn't make sense to do without knowing that Trace had lost his memories. This is significant, because the Red Text Entity seems to *not* have access to all of Rose's current memories, because in comic 1092 it was surprised at Maren's presence, which was something that Rose already knew about. This is another indication that Red Text is some separate entity from Rose.
That's a fair point... If that's the case, the two entities may well be Undead Rose with her personality and memories intact, and Duplicate Shadow Trace with Dark Trace's paranoia, memories and desire-to-kill-all-in-his-way intact.

And if that's the case, I'm jumping on the bandwagon for Shadow Trace vs Undead Rose, because there's kinda no way that won't happen if that's what's going on now.
I... I think I'm developing a theory here, and it may be flawed, but it's creepy. Ohhh is it creepy.

There's a saying that,
"We live on until the last person that remembers us forgets us."

What if
those that ROSE remembers and has met personally can be resurrected by Rose's recollections AND what if Trace knew this. She, essentially, being an involuntary vessel exploited by oldTrace not only as a continued servant but also kept alive as a mere... backup medium... for a version of, if not the real thing, but an acceptable enough spectral simalcrum to continue on his work to enough capacity to execute this current plan. Living - just like in her mind - as a parasite or a virus among the estate along with Rose, as a shadow of her former owner personified and able to continue working and tormenting Rose keeping her to her toils. Maybe even MORE EVIL (le gasp), being shaded by Rose's own perceptions.

"EVILme wouldn't do that, but EVILEVILme would."

It could also explain the disjointedness of personality that the entity exhibits being pieces of Rose's experience and understanding of Trace.

That, by extension of the theory also applies to OTHERS Rose knows, Saria included, who supposedly she knows even better. Maybe... almost like the REAL THING.

"These memories you cherish, they're mine now." :trace:

:maren: :twisted:

Oh dear diddly gosh darn dag nabbit.

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "I hate you for just knowing you" (;_;)

The only thing I don't like about this theory is the lack of intimateness of knowledge Rose would have about magic that Trace was capable of or how enough, like how would a memory of a person possibly also come with their skills and whatnot, so that to me seems a bit of a stretch but, either way, wow.
TheMasterOfOats wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:51 am So this is a bit off topic, but I was reading the previous chapter and I noticed how cryptic Rose sounded as she said Raine “had potential”.

Knowing now some of the weird crap Rose gets up to, I wonder if she’d use Raine as a host body. She has the knowledge and the equipment Trace used for the Saria/Maren swap (assuming it goes through). She could theoretically put her soul in Raine; she’s the perfect host body, and it’d be a great “screw you” to Euchre.
I'm not quite sure this is it, but I do think Rose is serrupticiously plotting something.

Though... Raine having a Youngtani-esque sub-personality mentor Auntie in her brain does sound pretty adorable. :raine:

"S'okay hon, I can play your wolf side for you till ya get comfortable" :wink:
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#25 Post by aitaituo »

CrRAR wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:53 pm And if that's the case, I'm jumping on the bandwagon for Shadow Trace vs Undead Rose, because there's kinda no way that won't happen if that's what's going on now.
I... I think I'm developing a theory here, and it may be flawed, but it's creepy. Ohhh is it creepy.[/quote]

It is a creepy theory. But why would Trace need Rose for her memories? I don't think he was planning to have amnesia.

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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#26 Post by Bellhead »

aitaituo wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:13 pm It is a creepy theory. But why would Trace need Rose for her memories? I don't think he was planning to have amnesia.
I think, by that theory, Trace would have wanted as exact of a copy as he could get, and he knew Rose knew her just as well as he did. Cue SAO Ordinal Scale reference.

The more data points he has to go off of, the better the end result will be.

Also,
Technic[Bot] wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:07 am by the way is it just me or Mike hip/waist ratio is a bit off?
It's not just you, but I don't think it's an accident. Those two are terrified, and only armed with an umbrella. It seems to me that Mike, at least, is scrunched down a bit with his hands behind his back. In that position, his chest and hips would push further out than his stomach, making his hips look larger by comparison. Art wise, it's a nice touch, and shows considerable skill.
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#27 Post by CrRAR »

aitaituo wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:13 pm It is a creepy theory. But why would Trace need Rose for her memories? I don't think he was planning to have amnesia
Maybe his primary objective was Saria, but obviously could be easily applied to other figments of her memories too, though it doesn't explain why the Trace estate wouldn't be a larger collection of spectres. Perhaps his personality is acting as a hypervisor over all, maintaining the master/servant relationship and making sure Rose keeps things clean and sticks to her duties but also seeing to the darker parts of the process Rose wouldn't do on her own? (like steal Maren)

The only valid reason we know now that why Rose actually cares about the estate is to uphold respect for Saria and her memory. If that is her primary motivation, it would be left to ANOTHER to sully it by bringing her (or a version of her) back. (unless, I suppose Rose is also perfectly fine with that idea, or maybe instead... just a part of her is)

...but that doesn't make much sense, depending on how Rose said "-You used me." in the past comic, that right there could indicate her view of unnatural life past death. If it's read as negatively she probably wouldn't - if read matter-the-fact, she could be ambivalent.
Bellhead wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:38 pm I think, by that theory, Trace would have wanted as exact of a copy as he could get, and he knew Rose knew her just as well as he did. Cue SAO Ordinal Scale reference.

The more data points he has to go off of, the better the end result will be.
I actually like that idea, to create a more perfect copy he has to make a composite... but yeah, this is where the theory falls apart a little. haha
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#28 Post by AmigaDragon »

I thought for a moment that Evals found a sword, then on further inspection saw it's an umbrella. Does he think it'll be of some use against stone lizards?
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#29 Post by jacobc62 »

"Dragons to the left of me, mages to the right.... Here I am, trapped in the middle with you!" -Mike and Evals to each other, probably.
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Re: Comic for July 22, 2020: Trapped in the Middle

#30 Post by CrRAR »

CrRAR wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:10 pm
aitaituo wrote: Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:13 pm It is a creepy theory. But why would Trace need Rose for her memories? I don't think he was planning to have amnesia
Maybe his primary objective was Saria, but obviously could be easily applied to other figments of her memories too, though it doesn't explain why the Trace estate wouldn't be a larger collection of spectres. Perhaps his personality is acting as a hypervisor over all, maintaining the master/servant relationship and making sure Rose keeps things clean and sticks to her duties but also seeing to the darker parts of the process Rose wouldn't do on her own? (like steal Maren)

The only valid reason we know now that why Rose actually cares about the estate is to uphold respect for Saria and her memory. If that is her primary motivation, it would be left to ANOTHER to sully it by bringing her (or a version of her) back. (unless, I suppose Rose is also perfectly fine with that idea, or maybe instead... just a part of her is)

...but that doesn't make much sense, depending on how Rose said "-You used me." in the past comic, that right there could indicate her view of unnatural life past death. If it's read as negatively she probably wouldn't - if read matter-the-fact, she could be ambivalent.
I did some more thinking on this... and I think I have a bit more of a conclusion, at least to the theory.

As we have been presented, the smoke hallucination has appeared to Trace taunting him that “he’ll see” or that he just needs “to wait”, albeit that he will be taught to “see Keidran for what they really are” blah blah blah. It screaming ‘NO!’ at Rose’s unlimiting seems strong evidence for awareness of a plan. What if the smoke hallucination is an entity that has taken on a life of its own through the means discussed earlier and has been somewhat “projecting” to Trace instead of really just coming totally from within him? Kind of like how Neo in the Matrix is connected to the Matrix and subject to visions, intuitions, and skills yet is free from it. It’s as much a part of him as he is of it, despite the “separateness”.

Maybe the smoke hallucination/shadowTrace is just doing the best it can with the circumstances post-Saria it was born into out of memories by continuing its forebear’s efforts? Acting as a last desperate phantom of a “dead” not-yet-tyrant anguishing over the loss of a fledgling family, a tragic past, and the painful pursuit of restoring it to what could have been; tortured by a broken dream it perpetually still cannot stand to lose and yet living as an incomplete creature itself, just like Rose herself is now?

Problem is OldTrace was rational enough to follow his research to insurmountable roadblocks and turn’t to world domination and genocide to sate his vengeance, but in his absence doing such simply left the ol’ Captain’s wheel spinning for ol’ smokey to assume command being stuck doing backroom satanic sacrificial ex-gf bodyswaps and other forms of occult insanity. xD
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