Phil’s original version of this scene came at a different (and more confusing) part of the timeline before we rooted it as after Sundar’s child-selling days but before the trolls got to the orcs (those “next adventurers” SC mentions would reach the orcs at the start of Chapter 6).

And it was even more Metal Gear-y than what you see here, which in practice meant that the talking just went on and on. MG fans might have appreciated the style parody, but I was convinced (and still am) that most readers would’ve been ready to throw their screens off a cliff by the end of it. This is going to be a pretty talky chapter as is.

I wanted Brunhilde’s last words to be the threat in panel 2, one last act of protection hinting that SC’s(/Ardaic’s(?)) conscience could be reached, as long as he could justify changing his mind as an act of duty. Phil insisted on some abbreviated echo of the Metal Gear death scene, which you get in the last two frames of today’s page and all tomorrow’s.

I think the result was better than either of our original designs, especially since Brunhilde looks dead for a few beats, which justifies the Centurion walking off (it’d be pretty sloppy if he just said “Eh, I’m sure she’ll go any minute now, let’s go get some breakfast” when he could always just stab her again to make sure). She was ready to go, at peace with the knowledge that both the orcs and Sundar would be safe. Perhaps she’d already stopped breathing. But she comes back for just a bit, calling on one last reserve to hold death at bay. Why? Because one of her children needs her, one last time.