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  • Heylir

    Hey, I recognise the pattern of this dress! Ms Fairbairn, long time no see! What a joyful surprise’s waiting for Ben, really…

    • #092f0a

      …we never DID see her die.

      • Brother Nightmare

        I’m not whole convinced she’s still alive… not in the conventional sense at least. Sloth at the very least tried to steal all her sleep. If he did, that would explain the raged appearance, and why she’s only now reappearing.

        • billydaking

          Her clothes do appear a bit tattered. Too lazy to wash ’em I suppose….

        • Ocean Burning.

          Perhaps she was unconsensually zombified.

          • Brother Nightmare

            That does sound like a sloth thing.

            • Ocean Burning.

              (It’s also a *Darken* reference)

    • Greenwood Goat

      Fairbairn: … *turns* Thackerey…? Ben Thackerey? …YOU’RE FIRED!!

      >:=)> …and this could mess things up for Sloth:

      Vee: You can’t fire him – he resigned. Just before your enterprise collapsed.

      Fairbairn: *approaches* I’ve heard about you, Verity Cunningham.

      Vee: *struts toward Fairbairn* And I’ve heard all about you, Fairbairn. On the losing side again, I see.

      Fairbairn: *bristles* How dare you?!

      Vee: *mirthful snort*

      Vee & Fairbairn: *move to circle each other with bristling hauteur*

      Sloth: *manifests* Enough. All this combative tension is giving me a headache. Ms. Fairbairn, I’m afraid it didn’t work out, and your services are no longer required. I’m off somewhere quieter. *demanifests*

      Fairbairn: W-wait! What about references? Will you keep my CV on file? How-?

      Vee: Come along, Ben – I prefer not to hang around the unemployed.

      Fairbairn: ;_;

      >:=)>

    • Ocean Burning.

      Oh no, dear Heylir, I fear there won’t be a pleasant meeting here.

  • Phil

    So, is she working for Sloth now? Or has she been trapped there for so long, and so desperate to get out that she will help them, or want their help, in the same way as the Hotel Gula guy?

    • Heylir

      I’d choose the option “trapped and want their help”, but it’s rather a matter of personal preference than something else.

    • John

      It sure does look like her dress. But if Sloth took all of her sleep almost a year ago I am not sure how much she can benefit from their help. She might be willing to help them to spite Sloth, but if she is still solely interested in her own well being (and who cares who else gets hurt) they may not have much to offer her.

    • Sanjay Merchant

      I’m trying to remember how badly her dress was damaged in the fight at Lamplight. I sort of have the impression that she’s been wandering through these mists for all the months since she disappeared.

    • Tikatu

      I thought she might be the personification of sloth now, but Acedia is still kicking, so no. I do hope they help each other; it would be to Fairbairn’s advantage to do so.

      • non_canon

        Someone mentioned the light being like that of an anglerfish a while back, which makes me wonder if at this point Sloth isn’t merely using her form to draw in prey, who follow the light until they either fall asleep or get close enough for Sloth to get at them directly.

  • billydaking

    It’s…blue.

    • Emily

      Makes sense – blue is Sloth’s color as well as Mal’s.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    For budgetary reasons, the Light at the end of the Tunnel will be turned off every night between 22:00 and 05:00.

  • If only Ms Fairbairn had been elected mayor and allowed to bring in proper controls and restrictions on the use of magic, then all this disaster from summoning the Deadlies could have been prevented. I hope she gets the opportunity to say ‘I told you so!’ :-)

  • Maria Gerasimova

    It seems Ben’s already recognized her, juging by his look in the panel 3 and his posture in the last panel.

    • Emily

      I’m trying to decide if Ben’s pose in the last panel is an “Oh, great, her again” reaction, or just sagging with exhaustion. I guess we’ll see…

    • billydaking

      I dunno…panel 4 seems to show he hasn’t…he’s still trying to figure it out….

  • Ellen

    Ruh roh

  • Emily

    Well, well! I guessed Ms. Fairbairn would make a reappearance during this section, but I hadn’t connected her with the light.

  • non_canon

    I KNEW SHE’D BE BACK!

    Unless that’s not actually her, but that Sloth can manifest a vision of her since it took all of her sleep. Speaking of which, the last time Sloth appeared it had been awarded Ben, Wolfe, and Mal’s sleep by contract. I wonder if that still holds.

    • Maria Gerasimova

      Sloth took then her as a donum, I think. So the contracr has to be closed by now?

      • non_canon

        Maybe, although that gives me the horrible image of her sleep paying for only one person and Ben trying to bargain himself and her in exchange for Wolfe and Mal. And I am suddenly very glad Verity is there to make sure he doesn’t.

        • Maria Gerasimova

          I am afraid even to think how her face must look now.

        • Sir. Orc

          As far as the last deal Fairbairn made goes, Ben and the rest are safe. She never finished making the initial deal with Sloth, merely discussed it, and it had to initiate the second deal where it took what was offered. The second deal was closed, and was interpreted as the fulfillment of the first. Furthermore, the circle was broken afterwards, so the binding of the summons no longer holds, same with the contracts. By the same token though, there is no circle, no contracts, nothing to constrain Sloth from taking what it wants now from whomever it wants. So in a way, they are still in danger…

  • Ocean Burning.

    Undead councilwomen? In the words of Han Solo, “I have a bad feeling about this…”

    • Maria Gerasimova

      Suddenly I had a silly thought: what if she, totally exhausted and haggard by a year without sleep and with it unable to die – what if she will spot them and… rush desperately towards them in hope for help?

      • Ocean Burning.

        Maybe, but, I doubt it. ; )

  • Laura Musich

    Fairbairn might be my favorite Widdershins villain on the strength of “That’s Mayor mad old witch to you!” Classic.

  • Nonesuch

    They’re catching up! :D

  • Heylir

    Now Ben and Verity look equally exhausted, with black circles under their eyes and their shaking legs.

    • Maria Gerasimova

      And supporting each other, not allowing to fall.

    • Emily

      I think they’re both paler than usual, too, and Vee’s hair is starting to look almost as straggly as Ben’s.

    • Kaunisenkeli

      Time for Wolfe and Sid to save the day.

      • 703 Noemi

        I dunno, I think this should be Ben’s time to shine.

        • Kaunisenkeli

          Ben shone pretty well dealing with Pride, and by being self-deprecating.

          • 703 Noemi

            Yes, but as you said, he was being self-deprecating. He beat Pride because of his dislike of himself, and it’s very harmful to have such low self-esteem. Vee managed to reassure him that he didn’t deserve all the self-hatred, and I think that this showdown with Sloth will restore his opinion of his own worth.

      • billydaking

        Right after their nap….

        • Kaunisenkeli

          Given that V is now looking pretty ragged (not to mention our new arrival’s dress), I’m guessing that leaving this area was the right decision.

  • Madame_K

    Ok, someone, pls remind me… who’s Fairbairn?

    • Emily

      She’s the villain from Chapter 2, No Rest for the Wicked. She was running for mayor on an anti-magic platform, while secretly distributing Sloth-infused lamp oil to put casting wizards to sleep and cause a plague of buggerups.

    • non_canon

      She’s from the first story with Ben, Mal, and Wolfe. She was a their boss, who wanted to put restrictions on magic for her own profit. Nearly got them all killed when they discovered her secret, but Mal rescued Ben and Sloth took her instead.

  • OH NO IT’S -HER-!!!!!???!?!

  • Emily

    In case anyone wants to check it out, I did a drawing of Ben and Vee as kids on one of their long hikes with their grandparents: https://enchantressemily.deviantart.com/art/Vee-and-Benji-712018361

    • Maria Gerasimova

      A beautiful picture!

    • AJ

      You’ve certainly captured Vee’s sassy pontificating and Ben’s calm demeanor!

    • Great picture.

    • Aw, this is so cute, thank you!

    • Heylir

      What a lovely drawing!

  • Sir_Krackalot

    It was Silver Chariot Requiem all along!

  • John

    I can see the outline of the figure carrying the lamp in panel 2. I went back to the last comic with Ben and Vee in it and I don’t think you can see the outline yet in the last panel, but I’m not sure if that’s because it wasn’t there yet or if it’s because I can’t get the resolution high enough to resolve the figure from the swirls of Sloth mist.

  • Nightsbridge

    I didn’t know the curtain call would be THAT thorough, but really! I should have known.

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