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Through Lights and Shadows 22/39

Through Lights and Shadows 22/39 published on 25 Comments on Through Lights and Shadows 22/39

Kale: When the executives of Northwind Prismaceuticals realized Hermosa was spying on them — and on me — They told me to get rid of him. Not just by killing him, either!

They told me to give him a degenerative brain disorder. Something that would kill him slowly . . . unravel his grip on reality . . . And retroactively shatter the credibility of all the intel he’d ever provided.

Everything that happened afterward was from my panicked scramble to cover for the fact that, instead . . .I decided to singlehandedly strike down everyone who dared to want him hurt.

Did he not tell you about that part?

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Okay, then why didn’t you let him go? You both knew Northwind was fucking with both of you, you knew that he was there to bring them down, and that they were treating you like living med equipment. What was left to cover up if you saved his life?

You, ah, remember that this led directly to Kale murdering a bunch of dudes, right? He was covering up murdering a bunch of dudes, who were important to Northwind’s operations. And then covering up that he was covering up murdering a bunch of dudes. And then covering up that he was covering up that he was covering up murdering a bunch of dudes.

The logic most likely went something like: “I wanna protect Hermosa -> These guys are threatening him, I’m going to kill them because he’s the only thing keeping me going right now -> Oh Fuck, I just killed a bunch of guys, um shit shit shit shit shit- NO ONE CAN KNOW” and then escalated from there into the scenario that led to his arrest.

At first I agreed. Until this strip when he reveals he knew Hermosa is working for the government. Usually they look into extenuating circumstances as well as someone saving their ass if someone wants to murder the agent or ruin the investigation. If he knew Hermosa wasn’t necessarily after K but Northwind overall? Something still isn’t adding up in this whole story.

We already knew that he knew, though! Back on this page (and the one after it) he explicitly mentions that he knew Hermosa was an agent of the Ceannic Government; and then a few pages later is when Hermosa’s cover is blown and he gets the full truth. He knew Hermosa was spying on him, but only found out it was also on Northwind when his cover was blown- at which point anger takes over, swiftly followed by panic.

We may still be missing information, but this all lines up with what we already know!

Then why is Hermosa’s condition still so much worse? We’ve seen one of his other victims, and even with the crystal eyes she’s walking and talking just fine if you factor in the trauma. If he did put the magic boot to Hermosa’s brain, why didn’t he undo it after?

At a guess? Hermosa is literally the only person who survived being in the room when KUdzu pushed his powers to the limit while panicking, and everything that happened to Hermosa is basically because he was right next to him when he started slinging the Point-Blank Area of Effect.

Points against me: Kudzu is depicted as holding Hermosa’s head in his hands on this page, which would indicate a deliberate effect.

as for fixing Hermosa after the fact… We don’t have specifics as for what Kudzu did between Cleaning House at Northwind and when he was finally shut down. We just know that he ‘never let’ the small teams the government originally sent get close, and Kale didn’t notice his own eyes burned out of his head until his powers were shut down.

Maybe Kudzu, for example, was just curled up in the boardroom pushing wave after wave of “nothing to see here, everything is normal, everyone is gonna play nice and be moral” and the existing Magicals in town just drove off the teams while Kale was hyperventilating in the Northwind Boardroom until Acai found him and smacked his power switch.

Maybe Kudzu was just trying to be grumpy loner Kudzu with Hermosa checking in on him periodically and Kudzu didn’t notice anything was wrong because he was subconsciously playing the whole town like puppets.

I would guess that Kudzu wasn’t exactly skilled in this level of mental manipulation … possibly noone is … and didn’t REALIZED that Hermosa is not really ok just like he didn’t realized his eyes (and eyes of lot of other people) are not really ok. While the magic was still running everything was working …

Kale said that he, and the people who resisted mind control the most were blind. Kale’s order of “everything’s fine- nothing to see here” when Hermosa is covered in blood and found out Kale is a linch pin in Northwinds super shade-y operation met resistance.
As far as “not letting teams get close” I think Kudzu told them everything is normal as well- like the not my problem field in Hitchhikers Guide

Is this the first time we’ve seen Hermosa’s face?

Nope! Kudzu Roots 22/35 for first look at any of his face, 23/35 for first front view, 24/35 for first nice closeup.

you mean we have two of Carlos the Scientist?

(Context: the relationship dynamic of Cecil, Carlos, and occasionally Kevin from Welcome to Night Vale is a theme Erin riffs on a lot (starting with the alternate universe Cecils and Carloses in Republic of Heaven Community Radio). Leif and Thorn is centered on a much more functional version of that dynamic, with Thorn in the Carlos role, with Leif as Cecil and Kale as Kevin. But it occurs to me that we’ve also got Hermosa as Carlos, Dex as Cecil, and (again) Kudzu as Kevin, and they work a lot more like the uncomfortable weirdness of years 2 and 3 of Welcome to Night Vale canon.)

Oh, good, I’m not the only person who thinks Thorn looks a lot like Erin’s Carlos.

It’s actually the other way around! This is the first design concept I uploaded for Thorn — already looking very close to the canon version — and it’s from 2011.

If you dig back through my DA gallery far enough, you might see some familiar stuff that’s even earlier. I’ve been regularly coming back to certain favorite themes/dynamics for a loooong time…

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