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Chapter 8 Page 18

February 11th, 2014

Jassart and Bertrande deal with the aftermath of Blaise’s escape on Chapter 8 Page 18. Jassart faces the choice of helping Bertrande or rescuing the aether. To see a hint of Jassart’s fate, please vote for Snow by Night on Top Web Comics.

Katsucon is this weekend. We’ll be there in the Artist Alley, enticing poor unsuspecting anime fans to read alt history comics. Also, I want to remind everyone about our Art Contest. Share all your arts with us! The Snow by Night Team would love to see what your vision of our characters.


    Hey, if the DM says it’s too heavy for you to lift, then you can’t lift it.


    Geez, when you said “fires consume” I feared the worst. Also, who puts barrels of gunpowder in the same room as their chemical reagents? That seems like it’s just asking for trouble.


      Gunpowder could be the product of or even an ingredient in many different alchemical recipes. That said it doesn’t have to be gunpowder to explode when sufficiently hot, even flour can be explosive under the right conditions.


        Almost anything powdered can be explosive… if it’s powdered finely enough and has the right mix of air. Non-dairy creamer was always a favorite of my acting friends, for stage purposes. (Well, and “being funny and annoying purposes”, too, of course.)

        There are very few powders which have the “right conditions” of “packed in a barrel”. Gunpowder is the implication.


    I get the feeling she might be his mom.

    Or aunt.

    If so…oh, boy, ex-friends make the best enemies…:)


      I came to the comments to say that I thought she is his mother, both because of his concern for her and her concern and verbiage for him.

      Also, they seem to have similar facial structure, but that’s hard to tell in comics.

        Based on the biographical information we have available both in-story and the Cast page of this site, I doubt that Jassart and Bertrande are family.

        Jassart’s parentage: “He is the child of a laundress and a charcoaler. He grew up in wretched poverty but watched the incredible wealth of the nobility for whom his parents worked.”

        As far as Bertrande goes, her entry notes: “She has been a widow since her husband was killed while adventuring in the Lakelands more than twenty years ago.”

        All that said, it only conclusively rules out a mother-son relationship; they could potentially be related somehow.

    Also, next week’s updates are probably going to be doozies.

    Some thoughts:

    (1) Interestingly, Bertrande refers to the aether she has already collected as still being stored, somehow, in her tuning fork by requesting that Jassart take it and flee (she does not explicitly name the tuning fork, but as far as I have seen there is no other receptacle for the aether that she has used). I wonder what the implications will be for Snow-by-Night.

    (2) I was initially surprised that Jassart was seemingly unable to lift the wooden beam, up until I did some calculations. Assuming the beam is some sort of hardwood, a reasonable approximation of its density is 0.75 x 10^3 kg/m^3 (or 750 kg/m^3). If the beam is 0.25 x 0.25 x 1.5 m then its mass is 70 kg or 154 pounds. If we assume a length of 1.25 m instead we still get 54 kg or 130 pounds. Jassart is surely fit, but I doubt he is built for heavy lifting, given his choice of occupation.

    (3) I don’t consider Bertrande as being blameworthy in terms of the current situation. I suppose Blaise is the one who interrupted the ritual, but what with him not being a practicing alchemist I feel safe in assuming that he had no reasonable way to know that the aether “explosion” (and what will surely soon be a real explosion) was a potential consequence. Since Snow-by-Night was at the alchemist’s as a result of the false pretence of Jassart, should Bertrande perish, her death will be on his hands. Granted, Bertrande suggested harvesting Snow-by-Night’s aether (hence destroying her), but Jassart is the one who brought her in.

    (4) While hitherto, Jassart has been self-centred relative to the standards of the people around him, he has not struck me as narcissistic, so it comes as no surprise (to me) that he has stayed, at some risk, to try to extract Bertrande. Drama puts the character of its participants to the test, and the events of this chapter, and its follow-on consequences, will begin the real trial of the characters of Jassart, Blaise, and Snow-by-Night, as it were. (All of this is in my opinion, of course.)

    TL,DR: Crap just got real, yo.


      But he doesn’t have to lift the whole thing (and even then, a normal human can usually lift their own body weight – Jassert is probably at least a 150 lbs or so) – he just has to lift it enough for her to crawl out, or roll it off her. That’s probably more like 1/2-2/3 the total weight of the beam: 65-90 lbs.


        We obviously didn’t draw that beam large enough. For the purposes of the story, the beam is too large and too heavy for Jassart to move easily. When we get done with the chapter, we’ll go back and enlarge the beam to make it obvious that Jassart can’t easily move it.


      Whatever the weight, anything heavy enough to be difficult for a grown man in decent shape to lift (especially if it’s only part of its weight) is going to do some REAL damage to anyone it falls on. Even if he gets her out, her injuries are likely to be life-threatening.


      Bertrande has been collecting the aether in the large glass jar on the floor. We missed coloring in the glowing strands in panel 1. We’ll get that tidied up.


      (3) The one who caused the explosion (Blaise) is usually at fault for anyone who dies in an explosion. Jassart may have brought Snow there, but that’s trivia. Jassart isn’t the one who made certain things would go out whack. Indeed, Blaise has done everything to make sure the entire thing did (his reasons are irrelevant, he did, that’s a fact). Blaise is to blame here, not Jassart.

      Jassart, selfish? Blaise, too.


        I hope I’m never in a chair needing to be saved by you…

        Seriously, you’re blaming Blaise for this? All he did was REMOVE someone from the danger they were put in… and the two people who put that person in danger seem to be paying the price for it. That sounds about right.

        The only thing that could change that is if you don’t consider the spirit a “person” – then, the math changes considerably, of course.

        Elsa Helsing

        If you think about it, Jassart is the one who caused the explosion. If he had never even gone to Bertrande or gone through with his plan, then this never would have happened.
        Simple as that.
        But it did. The story goes on.

        Suffice to say, I’m not prepared to accept your assertion with regards to who “is usually at fault for anyone who dies in an explosion”.

        As far as moral apportioning of blame goes, let us consider the facts as presented in the story and inferences from biographical details:
        (1) Whatever his motives, Blaise was acting to prevent the destruction of a sapient being. (*)
        (2) Whatever their motives, Bertrande and Jassart were acting to destroy a sapient being.
        (3) Blaise had no reasonable way to foresee what would happen when he removed Snow-by-Night from the containment circle. (In fact, it’s entirely possible that not even Bertrande could have foreseen it).
        (4) This situation would not have occurred, at all, were it not for the collusion of Jassart and Bertrande.

        Point (4), I contend, is critical. Had Jassart not brought Snow-by-Night to the alchemist’s, it follows – of necessity – that he and Bertrande would not now be in this situation.

        (*) It is my understanding that, in science fiction and fantasy, it is now common practice to assume that non-human beings possessing sapience (roughly, human-level mind states) are deserving of the same moral consideration as humans.

        On that view, Blaise intervening to rescue Snow-by-Night is no different than if, say, he were intervening to rescue the old man from whom Bertrande was extracting aether in chaper 6 if, hypothetically, the people he was indebted to arranged for her to “tap him out completely”.

          Elsa Helsing

          All of your points are valid, and easy to understand, but I don’t think Jeremy will care.
          A lot of people brought up great points and great reasons why Jassart is so easily hated and Blaise isn’t.
          If anything, Jeremy will go with the same story that something that can easily kill another person, is cruel, doesn’t deserve to exist, etc etc.
          Even though if you think about it, from his view, he’d have to say that humans don’t deserve to exist either since one can kill another so easily.

    Storing gunpowder in flammable containers in the same room as the aether collection, not to mention the open flame of the stove? And let’s not start on all those glass bottles on high shelving and failure to wear safety spectacles during a hazardous procedure. This is not going to look good in the accident report. Haven’t seen such disregard for basic health and safety procedures since Picard’s Enterprise.

    Hm. Maybe I need to get out more…


      My initial thoughts were much the same.
      Gunpowder in the same room as a wood stove?
      Closet? Cellar? Out-building? Any would be a better choice.
      She’s lucky to have lasted this long.


    Huh…Jassart’s slightly human. Good. And honestly? I hope Bertrande dies. Jassart needs a harder slap in the face.


      Jassart’s more human than Blaise, who left two humans to an unknown fate to save a walking snowman.


        Except that Jassart was trying to get rid of said spirit woman because he couldn’t get over the fact that Blaise fell in love.

        It absolutely ground his nerves that Blaise found something good, better than being a thief in the form of love. So he hatched this scheme to get rid of a completely innocent spirit. For what? Because jealousy. A “friend” that can’t adapt to change and resorts to such extreme methods like Jassart did is not a friend or even someone worth keeping around.


        Jeremy, if you have such a hate-on for the TITLE CHARACTER, why do you bother reading?


    I guess that’s one drawback of worshipping the summer unicorn: you get hotter fires.


    Thar she blows! I didn’t expect that Bertrande would get her come-uppin’s so fast. But then, I never expect what’s coming next in this tale . . . :D
    She who lives by gunpowder dies by gunpowder, I suppose. But will Jassart actually take the aether? And is it marked by its source? I was wondering what would happen if it ever did get used for medicinal purposes–would the receiver feel the effects of being touched by a manitou?

    Elsa Helsing

    I always thought that Bertrande was going to be the one to die in this chapter.
    Still no guarantees that she does indeed die. Who knows?
    Wasn’t expecting Jassart to say something like that though. I was expecting him to try and save her, but not say anything like that.

    Number 6

    So, he finally managed to do something non-selfish.

    Either that, or he’s figuring that now she’s going to have to give him huge bargains on alchemical ingredients and potions and such for the rest of her life because she owes him. There’s got to be some sort of angle.

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