Our opening image here is a callback to a few different things. The mountain setting may make you think of our very first page, which began with a similar shot. The use of purple may make you think this is a direct sequel to the Arkerran part of the previous chapter…presumably all of that matter HR was manipulating had to go somewhere. And it did, but this isn’t it. The most literal callback is to one of John’s first pages. This is the Solates Mountains, the scene that Iver once painted on the wall of his tent to inspire his people. What Iver promised, Gravedust has delivered. The Savasi are going home.

We’ve never seen mountain griffins before (and we never actually will), but I wanted to invent a new fantasy creature for Gravedust’s purposes here, for the same reason that we roll out some brand-new characters in page 3. This coda to Guilded Age clearly had a lot of subplots to finish, but I didn’t want to get so caught up in that that it seemed like “The stuff that you’ve already gotten to know is the only stuff that matters.” A happy ending for our series is one full of adventures to come, and it should always feel possible to have a totally new random encounter.

FB: Today’s Guilded Age implies a mountain of backstory.