Between: 16.12

Are you someday going to go back and read all your ROT13’s once they’re no longer spoilers?

Maybe. Hardest part will be finding them all, but I suppose searching my blog for “translate” should somewhat reliably find them. At least now that I’m on a site where I can actually rely on blog search catching things.

If I do that, it’ll catch this post too, so hiya future me maybe!


By Ari Ibarra / Ariirf.

So awesome! No wonder two of you both felt the need to send this to me.

I love the wispy feel the painting style here adds; it fits so well with the Dutch angle. And in the more detailed, “in focus” part, the head, the way Taylor’s hair matches the incoming swarms is such a neat touch.

Just to confirm, next chapter is the last chapter of the arc.

Not even an Arc-closing Interlude after it? That’d be new.

I mean, there was Arc 9, but that was enough of a special case that it got me suggesting the idea of an Arc-closing Interlude from Taylor’s perspective. That is, an Interlude that defied the very definition of an “Interlude” as used in this story.

In any case, good to know.

You lose point for not licking your own eyeball right after that deep monologue in the intro.

Fuck, you’re right. I’m sorry.

*licks single tear of shame out of his eye*

“Maybe I’d pinned too many hopes on the drug-addicted preteen” is one of my favorite out-of-context Worm lines.

Hah, yeah, it’s pretty beautiful on that front.

The first half of Monarch (Dragon suits) is often regarded as one of the weakest parts of the story and I was wondering if you agreed. Also, when the We’ve Got Worm guys covered Monarch, Wildbow decided to (as the youth say) “spill some tea” about what was going on at the time, and this is a screenshot of that. I also copied it onto pastebin if you want to be able to copy & paste from it:

Yeeah, I’d agree with that assessment to some extent. It was okay and served its purpose, but kind of rough around the edges compared to what this story has me used to by this point. As much as the whole point was they had to get it done with quickly, it could probably have benefited from being a little slower-paced.

In any case, let’s see what Wildbow has to say about it.

(I appreciate the Pastebin transcript, by the way, that makes things a lot easier for me. Thank you!)


Circumstances around Arc 16 in general

I know there’s some quibbling about the nature of Arc 16 and how it could be broken into two arcs. Going in, though, the story was written over the course of late November and early December.

To be fair, it’s not the first time he’s put what could be argued to be two stories in one Arc, though last time they were clearly distinguished by one half being all Interludes.

Also, it seems to me that the fakeout happy ending with Dinah might not work all that well if the Arcs were split. I suppose if he pulled the cliffhanger ending on one Arc, made Marquis’ Interlude an Arc-ending one, and then made the rest another Arc… well, that would be a really short Arc, wouldn’t it?


At the start of that year, I’d quit university and decided to give my all at the writing thing. I had a close family member send me an email a few months in that expressed a pretty angry and disappointed perspective on what I was doing.



The disappointment came from a place of love, I think, but I think it also came from, well, a fundamental disconnect in how very, very different we are as people. They said they hoped I would fail so I could get back on track with life, working a proper job, etc, and that I didn’t deserve to get lucky and have the writing work out.

This is an all too common reaction from some people to others trying something outside the 9-to-5. And to them I say fuck off.


And I mean, there’s context and stuff informing that – I pulled some Taylor level self-delusion in uni (and with hunting for proper jobs).

Fair enough, I suppose… Also I like the phrase “Taylor level self-delusion”.

Where I saw leaving Uni and trying to do my own thing as a triumph, me dwelling on the writing could very well be construed as another self-delusion, postponing life. I could talk about that a fair bit, but this segment is also pretty long.

Anyway, they were far from the only person to be very upset, and going into writing a fairly important arc, the timing just so happened to fall down in such a way that I was writing it while holidays were happening, while people were in town, and while traveling with the nuclear family unit to see various extended family members – and I had to keep schedule while dealing with a lot of those attitudes and perceptions (repressed or otherwise) while also wrangling holidays and the associated stresses.

General holiday stress plus dealing with unsupportive family members plus high pressure due to the Arc’s importance equals becoming too drained for writing to be much more than another chore?

There was a bit around/near the new year where we’d all been staying at an aunt’s and there hadn’t been any internet while we were there, I was anxious to get to my other aunt’s (in a town an hour away) to use the internet and write a chapter, and I was assured several times I’d be there in the early afternoon – only for us to leave late afternoon and for several family members to insist on a long shopping trip at a mini-mall midway through the drive.



I was left scribbling in a notebook by the light of a nearby streetlamp, writing the Marquis interlude for later transcription. I wonder sometimes how much of that & moments like that was them needing the break and how much was “I hope you’ll fail”.

Having to write an Interlude about some of the most family-focused characters by hand under terrible conditions because he was wronged by his family… that’s a cruel sort of irony.

I’m eternally grateful to the Aunt who was there at the second destination, who welcomed me at 9pm or so with tea and gave me both her office and permission to ignore everything and do what I needed to do. She’s really one of my favorite human beings.

Aw, that’s nice.

All in all, while I 100% agree with your perceptions on the first half, I’m reasonably happy with the arc overall, given the context it was written in, and I’m particularly happy I was able to pull it out of the dip in quality we see in the first half. It’s a consequence of the serial format that it’s written while real life is going on and I think some past arcs and admittedly some future sections are impacted by points in time where I just didn’t have the focus.

Yeah, and that’s entirely fair.

I’ve been there, kind of. Some of you may remember that I once did a shitty comic. Through that I experienced firsthand what it can be like when you’re trying to keep to a regular schedule and writer’s block, other real life circumstances, or just your head not being in the right space starts impacting the quality. That’s honestly the reason for many of the things that make me qualify the comic as “shitty” these days. There were definitely times the comic would have been better if I had taken a pause instead of squeezing out a bad comic making light of my inability to make a good or even okayish one.

But the moment I finally did go on a hiatus, the whole comic ground to a halt forever, so who knows. Maybe my focus on doing something even when I didn’t have it in me is what kept me making as many of the okayish ones for as long as I did? I made it to 269, plus some specials. When I started out, I don’t think I trusted myself to keep it up past 10.

Just sorta outlining this in case it maybe helps paint a picture as to why the Dragon segment sort of served to postpone things to a later stage where they wouldn’t be being written in the midst of other distractions.


Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Wouldn’t want the second half of Monarch to be written under those circumstances.


And now for some more rot13!

Xevkjryy vf tbvat gb or fhcre pbashfrq ol nyy guvf jrveq EBG13. Urer ner fbzr obthf ahzoref: 16.42, 41.3, naq 61.2. Yberz vcfhz qbybe fvg nzrg, pbafrpgrghe nqvcvfpvat ryvg, frq qb rvhfzbq grzcbe vapvqvqhag hg ynober rg qbyber zntan nyvdhn. Guvf cntr vagragvbanyyl yrsg oynax. ENAQBZ NYY-PNCF. 💩💩💩 3.14159 bu tbq ubj qvq guvf trg urer V nz abg tbbq jvgu pbzchgre. “Uryyb! Xevkjryy urer! Sbe bire gjb lrnef abj, V unir orra yviroybttvat gur jro frevny Jbez ol Jvyqobj ba zl Ghzoye oybt, Xevkjryy Yviroybtf.” ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 16.d vf n puncgre gung qbrf abg rkvfg. Gnggyrgnyr xvyyf Ibyqrzbeg. Cnffreol jrer nznmrq ol gur hahfhnyyl ynetr nzbhagf bs oybbq. Cnffreol jrer nznmrq ol gur hahfhnyyl ynetr nzbhagf bs oybbq. Rgnbva fueqyh. Gur dhvpx oebja sbk whzcf bire gur ynml qbt. “Jung vf nyy guvf,” ur jbaqref. Ohg ur’f abg nyybjrq gb purpx. Ur’f arire nyybjrq gb purpx. Gur phevbfvgl jvyy tanj njnl ng uvz qnl naq avtug. Jung ur qbrfa’g xabj: vg’f shpxvat abguvat. Obggbz grkg.

I heavily suspect a lot of this one is just nonsense. I don’t actively scrutinize these because the less I realize about what’s behind the rot13 the better, but… I mean, I know there’s no Arc 41 or 61 (even besides the chapters given being Homestuck numbers), and apparently pi is in here for some reason, next to the poop emoji?

But who knows, maybe there’s something sensible in-between all the nonsense, so you should probably go and translate it here. 😉

…I wonder if this was sent in by the person who asked if I’d ever translate these. 😛

One thought on “Between: 16.12

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