The conditions stated here might read as foreshadowing: what if something happens to threaten these gains? And, well, some things will, but I think that’s a bit of a misdirect. The last panel is the really important one. Byron’s acceptance of this responsibility, with everything that he is, means that he’s well on his way to transforming from rogue freelancer to statesman. He will have setbacks, but this is our first glimpse of his final form.

I think this moment was the midpoint of Guilded Age Act II, and a bit of a turning point for me and Phil as well. That’s better news for us than it was for our characters. Spoiler warning: for Byron, the other heroes in general, and this newfound Adventurer’s Guild, today is going to be about as good as things get until Chapter 49 or 50. The alliance between Gastonia’s government and its adventurers will seem stable for a while, but it’s all downhill from here.

But for Phil and me, things would start getting better. We’d have setbacks too (so, so many setbacks), but the success of the Kickstarter and the clean slate this chapter created let us move forward, the chaos in our personal lives receded, and the work started getting kinda fun again. After delays and struggles with the last two chapters, we hurtled right into Chapter 25 without a moment’s pause.

NEXT: A moment’s pause! Well, I had to put the annotations for the Kickstarter promos SOMEWHERE.