I’m proud of Phil for laying E-Merl’s half-elf ancestry into the early notes and proud of me for using it to actually propel the plot. We needed something to bring Syr’Nj’s anger at her father to a fresh boil, for reasons that will shortly become apparent. Most of the others had no reason to interact with Naror’Nj at all, and having him abuse Byron in prison somehow would be beneath even him and too obvious.

It’s also interesting to me now how well E-Merl speaks of his lost or departed parents, whom I don’t think he’ll ever mention again, because one doesn’t think of happy families as producing kids with his level of inferiority complex. It is likely that they were ostracized for their love, though, suffering both socially and economically, and E-Merl’s issues began there before his teachers reinforced them.

Naror’Nj’s face in the last panel is ambiguous to me. The reactionary in him has long been at odds with the parent and dominating that struggle, but hearing your grown daughter call you trash is the kind of jolt that can make you question everything. Or double down. It’s not clear which way he’s about to go.