Continuing her story, Shireen said, “Then the Storm Queen rode her stag into battle –“
“You can’t ride stags into battle,” Edric protested. “You can hunt them, of course, my father often did. Though my father preferred hunting boars to hunting stags, Ser Cortnay told me. But you can’t ride them. They’re not horses.”
Shireen was unfazed. She didn’t miss a beat before replying, “This one was a very special stag. Larger than a horse, and faster too.”
The two boys sitting cross-legged on the floor seemed unconvinced. “Close your eyes,” Shireen half-whispered. “Just imagine it.”
Edric was reluctant at first, but when he saw Devan closing his eyes, he quickly did the same.
“Such a majestic creature,” Shireen continued. “Bold and forceful, yet still graceful. Just like his rider.”
Eyes still closed, Devan shyly asked, “What is the stag’s name, Princess?”
This time Shireen paused. She had not thought of a name. Then inspiration struck. “Dragonsgrief,” she announced. “In honor of Durran Godsgrief, but it’s Dragonsgrief because the Storm Queen and her stag defied the Dragon King and his dragons, not the gods.”
Shireen would have loved a Dragonsgrief of her own, to help her defeat the hungry, angry dragons chasing her in her dreams.
Edric and Devan had their eyes wide open now, looking eagerly at Shireen. “And then what happened?” Edric asked. “Was the Storm Queen victorious?” Devan queried.
“The Storm Queen and her army fought bravely and gallantly, but they were defeated in that battle.”
“No!” Edric and Devan both exclaimed in unison.
“She … she didn’t die, did she?” Devan asked, looking pale.
“No, of course not,” Shireen quickly reassured him. She wondered if Devan was thinking about his brothers, the ones who died at Blackwater Bay.
“Surely she was captured and made to bend the knee, and then paraded in chains across the realm as a warning to others,” Edric said.
“This is my story, Edric. You can tell your story when it’s your turn,” Shireen said, irritated.
“Oh I wouldn’t want to. You are so much better with stories, Cousin,” Edric replied with his winning smile. Shireen smiled too, finally. She could not be cross with her cousin for long.
“The Storm Queen was forced to flee and hide in the rainwood. She took a wound, and Dragonsgrief was injured as well. But the Storm Queen vowed that one day she would return to free her people from the Dragon King. A wood’s witch who was said to be a descendant of the Green Queen treated her wound and nursed her back to health.”
“Is this the same Green Queen from Maester Pylos’ lesson?” Devan asked. “But … wasn’t the Green Queen a sworn foe of House Durrandon?”
Edric rolled his eyes. “It’s a story, Devan. Not history.”
Shireen was ready with her answer. “It’s true, the Green Queen had been a sworn foe of House Durrandon many, many years ago. But the Dragon King is now an even bigger and more menacing threat to everyone in the Stormlands, so her descendants thought it best to work together with the Storm Queen to defeat him.”
“And did they defeat him in the end?” Devan asked eagerly.
“Well, that’s a story for another day,” Shireen said, grinning.
Within the first ten minutes of our conversation, we’re bemoaning the loss of the 14th st. Virgin Megastore. You know never what you’ll become nostalgic for in the moment – maybe, given enough time on this earth, we eventually become nostalgic for everything, chain stores and all. Leslie Stein is the second person I’ve interview in Union Square for RiYL, and ambient noise aside, I’m beginning to think this might be the way to do. A park bench at dusk brings out the best in a New Yorker. For DJ Spooky, it was a conversation about how cities function. For Stein, a cartoonist and musician, it’s a mediation on making ends meet in the big city.
This being New York, our talk is augmented by frequent appearances from the characters who populate the area, each with his own unique calling card, and if you close your eyes while listening, you might be able to picture it all as something out of Eye of the Majestic Creature, with the occasional anthropomorphic sunflower and chain-smoking acoustic guitar.
Here’s a pencil test of some gifs I’m working on of Leslie Stein’s Larrybear from Eye Of The Majestic Creature. This is actually only half of the first gif, with the 10 drawings cycling back to the beginning. The whole 20 drawing sequence will be the full Pete Townsend windmill power chord. The second gif will be what comes out of the amp.
To get everyone excited about Volume 2 coming out soon, Fantagraphics and comiXology releasedEye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 1 to add to your digital comics library. Leslie Stein’s book is a collection of semi-autobiographical and fantasy-based comics that combine dry humor, psychedelia, and emotion to show the viewpoint of one person’s world internally and externally.
The story follows a young girl, Larrybear, and her talking acoustic guitar Marshmallow on their adventures through the countryside, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. While Larrybear struggles to connect with strangers, her friends, and her family to various degrees of success, her growing population of anthropomorphic friends have adventures of their own.
Enjoy this 122-page unique work for only $14.99 over at comiXology today. And start practicing on your own Marshmallow guitar for Volume 2!