Wrapping Up Loose Ends

The epilogue was a little open-ended, so here are a few after-the-end character life summaries.

Kai' and Rune do go home. Everyone flips out about them coming back from the dead, but the village boys think it's really hot, and Kai' is learning how to flirt. Rune foams at the mouth a lot.

Alcarin got married. It's a political marriage, but his bride turns out to be an adorable little lady who rules him with an iron fist. Surprisingly (or maybe not), he sort of likes it.

Daian and Elei live happily ever after. Kind of. About as much as you can live happily ever after with someone like Elei. (I'd like to clarify that Daian and Elei were not married as of the epilogue, because she was like in a coma. Ew.) Elei is a native of Peldinn, and Daian sort of stumbled out of the forest carrying her and threw himself on the mercies of the ferry village people. They were won over by his mother-hennish tendencies.

Surprisingly, Daian has always been my favourite character, which you wouldn't expect considering he plays second fiddle to Elei a lot. I like the pragmatic, laid-back way he looks at life. (Kai' is my second favourite for being easy to draw. Rune is dead-last for being a two-dimensional, stubborn, misogynistic asshat. Why is he even a main character?)

Finally, as for whether Elei was ever completely healed, that's sort of up to you. I sacrificed a bit of realism at the end there for drama, but I like to think so. She may never be completely rid of the aftereffects, but she survived, and she's determined to live a long and happy life. Elei is many things - selfish, arrogant, cowardly, stubborn, desperate - but if I had to pick one trait for her, she would be courageous.




Further Ramblings

One of the most interesting things about having written a single story that spans years is going back and reading it and realizing how much you've changed. Because each page of Catalyst took so long to create, I have particular memories of each, some more than others ("here's the page I fell asleep on in the front row of my OpenGL class!" "that was written right after I broke up with my boyfriend and hated all men!").

Most interesting to me, though, is how the characters have matured over time. When I was 16, 20 seemed like an age away, and in my original draft of the script, Kai' was 15, Rune was 17, Daian was 19, and Elei was 500 (!!!). Nine years later, I've changed their ages a dozen times. Rune is 21; Daian is 26, only a little older than I am now. Kai' is still 15, and I think it suits her, as Catalyst is a story where Kai' starts out knowing nothing about the world, and ends with her knowing a little more. Elei is 34 - I'm always kind of amused by how needless those extra 466 years were. Somewhere I realized that there was no use giving someone immortality if you weren't going to make it a plot point. Also, that thing(?) between her and Daian would have been pretty squicky at that point. At 15, I didn't really understand how to portray the mindset and issues of a person who had lived for centuries; in fact I never thought of it at all. Now, at 25, I understand that 34 years of life is more than enough to do some very stupid, angsty things. We really don't need all that extra time for something so simple.

The concept of Gifts also got trimmed down a good deal in the later parts of the story. Had I written it now, I would have built them very differently, but it seemed like a good idea then I guess. Halfway through I realized (to my horror) that due to story evolution, "catalyst" didn't actually describe them anymore, and now I'm stuck with a story title that doesn't actually mean what the story says it means. Oops.

Catalyst spans whole chapters of my life and it's almost a shame to see it go. But on the other hand, I'm actually really glad. I'm a very different person than who I used to be. Instead of drawing, I prefer dancing tango or playing Capoeira, building servers and designing system architecture (look at my gross hand-written HTML in this website!! egads). And along with all these changes is the distinct feeling that I have outgrown Catalyst, as an artist, as a storyteller, and as a person. I am incredibly glad to have created and completed this comic. It has taught me a lot, and I am very, very proud of it. To me, it's not just a story, but also an achievement, a love, and a part of my life completed.

Thank you for having read it.

- Crystal




Catalyst is written and drawn by Esther Chuah, 2005 and hosted on SpiderForest.com.