I had initially hoped to do a ‘full page’ comic today, since otherwise the action scenes take quite awhile. Unfortunately, plans went awry, and as you are here to witness we are getting a typical half-page a day late, so… what will be will be I suppose.

Anyway, comic!

An aside about magic…

To analyze slightly the magic involved, Kally’s dragonfire is similar to the ‘rupture’ magic that we just saw Kally use (and several other characters have used). In a way, it’s probably the ‘greatest’ form of that magic classification, and that’s magic that is a primarily data driven attack that causes other data to be destroyed. To somewhat oversimply, you can think of it like a command telling any other data it comes in contact with to destroy itself; the more power put into the attack, the less other data can resist the command and more the violently it explodes. This is why it’s hard to defend with magic, which is essentially more weakly typed data than material reality, since that magic will just destroy itself as well unless the caster can keep it from being overwritten.

As Elizabeth noted in her fight with Camilla, rupture based magic is something commonly used by Central mages as it’s tends to give them more bang for their investment when attacking magically reinforced things than attacks using a material medium (like Camilla’s light based attacks or Ila’s projectile based attacks). On the other hand, Ila demonstrates though being capable of both projectile based attacks and rupture based attacks, using a medium has its own benefits. Ila’s range and precision with her projectile attack vastly exceeds her range with rupture based attack. More tactical class attacks are medium (or material) based than not for this reason, since they can use physics as a crutch to maintain deliver the phenomena beyond their immediate control.

Of course, Dragonfire generally functions with the best of both worlds. If other mages could replicate it, they would, but so far we haven’t seen another mage besides Kally (or more specifically, her dragon) that can use that attack. Kor’s World has more experience with attacks like that than most, but the best they can do is mitigate or deflect it. That’s just the nature of the dragonfire attack: whatever is downrange of it is going to have a bad time. What they did here was like reactive armor on a tank. Rather than let it hit their shield, they throw a magic attack to cause dragonfire’s annhilation to trigger before it hits their shield, and rely on the shield to protect them from the aftermath. It’s a good way to deal with the attack, though ultimately not something most mages could pull off or survive anyway, and only really effective enough to stop the first salvo. We’ve seen Kally use dragonfire a lot stronger than what she used here (when she was attempting to shoot down the skyhammer projectile or attempting to destroy Atter and didn’t really concern herself with collateral damage).

Perhaps confusingly, dragonfire and the rupture branch of magic is a separate mechanism to what a null-caster does which would be more accurately called ‘breaking’ data, but itself isn’t dependent on coherent data; which is why the nullcaster we saw a long time ago thought he could probably stop the dragonfire attack, though that was never tested. Mium’s power works much more like a null-caster, though might be more accurately called ‘erasing’ data. Those that know his nature may guess it simply be a hyper-efficient version of nullcasting, but that isn’t really confirmed by anything beyond speculation of characters.

Next page should be 2/19/2024