The 4th Trial: Shadow of Death

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The 4th Trial: Shadow of Death

Postby YAK_Chewie » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:41 pm

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Here is the latest installment in The Enloe Trials...

You can also see past chapters here, and there's also character profiles below:

The Enloe Trials Prologue: The Baron's Crusade
Chapter 1: Seeds of Insurrection
Chapter 2: Atrocity
Chapter 3: Revelations


And the character profiles are as follows...

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Rykrof Enloe - Homeworld - Naboo. Former Republic Commander, who is now an enemy of the Empire. He has a history of entanglements with the Badoo Corba terrorist organization, dating back prior to the Battle of Geonosis. He is former best friends with Imperial Baron Tylin Gere and has been forced to embark on a desperate mission to acquire an ancient Sith artifact for Tylin.


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Alyssa Enloe - Homeworld - Naboo. The wife of Rykrof Enloe, Alyssa has lived a hard life being married to Rykrof, and has been the target of Rykrof's enemies over the years. She is a survivor, but is now in the captivity of Imperial Baron Tylin Gere.


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Caldin Enloe - Homeworld - Naboo. The son of Rykrof and Alyssa Enloe. His grandmother was a Jedi Master. Former Jedi, Kala Mly Shundi, has sensed that the boy is Force-sensitive. Caldin is now in the captivity of Imperial Baron Tylin Gere.


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Freelo Macklar - Homeworld - Dak. Former freelance scientist who became friends with Rykrof Enloe during the Clone Wars. Freelo has been known to be timid, but is extremely loyal to the Enloe family.


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Kala Mly Shundi - Homeworld - Coruscant. Kala was once the apprentice of Rykrof Enloe's mother, who was a Jedi Master. Kala has flirted with the Dark Side of the Force and experienced terrible visions of the future. He barely survived Order 66, getting ambushed by clone troopers on Braatos VII. He now works with the Rebel Underground in the struggle against the Galactic Empire.


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Traedon Cusiro - Homeworld - Corellia. Former bounty hunter who once worked for the Badoo Corba terrorists. He helped Rykrof escape from Separatists on Dathomir during the Clone Wars, but later attempted to kill Senator Padme Amidala. After escaping from prison, he swore an oath to bring down the Empire and joined forces with Kala Mly Shundi.


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T-3PO - Homeword - Cybot Galactica. Protocol Droid that has served the Enloe family for years. He survived an Imperial attack on the Enloe homestead.


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Baron Tylin Gere - Homeworld - Naboo. Former best friend of Rykrof Enloe, the two served as Republic Peace Officers prior to the Clone Wars and later as officers in the Grand Army of the Republic. Tylin thirsts for power and has become obsessed with acquiring an ancient Sith artifact. He has captured Alyssa and Caldin Enloe, and killed Rykrof's father. He has forced Rykrof's hand into working for him to acquire the Sith artifact.


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Emperor Palpatine - Homeword - Naboo. Dark Lord of the Sith and the undisputed ruler of the Galactic Empire. Attempted to mold Rykrof Enloe but failed. He takes great interest in Baron Tylin Gere's quest to acquire an ancient Sith artifact.


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Darth Vader - Homeworld - Tatooine. Dark Lord of the Sith and follows the instructions of his master, Emperor Palpatine. During the Clone Wars, he was once friends with Rykrof Enloe. He considers Rykrof a traitor to the Empire but also is fully aware that Rykrof once helped protect Padme Amidala.




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The obscure world known as Dathomir is one that Rykrof Enloe swore he would never return to following the Clone Wars.



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But in order to save his family from the sinister Imperial Baron Tylin Gere, Rykrof has broken that promise.



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...and encounters beings brought back from the dead by the very artifact that he has been sent to obtain!



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The group's actions have attracted the attention of the planet's most menacing beast...



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...a bull Rancor!



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"Spread out!" Rykrof orders his men as the creature charges the group.



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"And keep your distance!"



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"Run for your lives!" Freelo screams as he disappears into the forest!



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"Freelo's gone!" Caller shouts as he strafes away from the beast.



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"I knew this would happen!" Rykrof spits in frustration.



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"Find your friend and keep him safe," Jedi Master Kala Mly Shundi tells Rykrof as his lightsaber blazes to life.
"I'll handle this."



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Rykrof and Caller then set off in pursuit of Freelo.



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Just then, Kala allows for the Rancor to take him in its grasp.



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"Kala!" Traedon shouts in horror.
"What are you doing?"



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Ignoring his comrade, the Jedi allows for the Force to flow through his core as the massive creature pulls him toward its mouth...



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...then quickly maneuvers himself into an attack position!



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His lightsaber then penetrates the skull of the Rancor...



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...bringing the carnivore to its death!



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"You Jedi come in handy. Maybe Order 66 wasn't such a good thing after all," Traedon smirks.



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"We must find Rykrof and the others," Kala replies, changing the subject.



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"The plan was if anyone got lost, to press on for the artifact," Traedon counters.
"I'm sure that's what Rykrof will do once he finds Freelo."



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"Bacha tu melsay," HK-88 agrees.



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"Very well," Kala concedes with great reluctance.
"We must continue to push forward..."



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Nearly a dozen kilometers away, unbeknownst to Rykrof's team, their camp has been discovered by a hoard of the undead!



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Rebel Trooper Doksin runs in horror...



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...facing impossible odds!



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Meanwhile, protocol droid T-3PO also flees the scene of the attack...



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...but his stalker continues to gain ground!



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"My joints weren't made for..."
"Whooaa!" he cries as he loses his balance.



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"I've fallen and I can't get up!"



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Within seconds, the undead trooper pounces on the terrified droid...



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"No! You can't eat me!" T-3PO wails.
"Can't you see I'm made from metal?"



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At that moment, a blast of laser fire simmers through the trees...



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...striking the creature in the skull!



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The corpse of the former Imperial Stormtrooper lies silently on the ground.



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"I'm saved!" T-3PO gleefully exclaims as he searches for the source of the blast.



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"Master Enloe... is that you?" he asks.
"Are you there, Sir?"



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"Hello?" he continues as he regains his footing.
"Master Enloe?"



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Suddenly the droid finds himself staring down the barrel of a Rodian's holdout blaster!



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"Don't shoot!" T-3PO begs.



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"Enloe...?" the alien inquires as he and his companion approach the nervous droid.
"Rykrof Enloe is here on Dathomir?"



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"Why yes, he's my master!" T-3PO proudly announces.
"Do you know him?"



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"We most certainly do," the Advozse warrior laughs.
"We are Badoo Corba!"



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"You're terrorists!" the droid realizes.
"I'm done for!"



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Some time later, Rykrof and Caller continue their desperate search for Freelo...



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"You've got to be kidding me," Rykrof growls.



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"Rykrof!" Freelo smiles.
"I was starting to get worried!"



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"You idiot!" Rykrof vents.
"What the hell are you doing?"



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"Taking a break," Freelo tells him.
"I have a cramp in my leg."



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"Do you realize what's at stake here?" Rykrof hisses.
"You can't go running off like this."



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"Now we're separated from the group..."



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"...and something's still jamming communications!"



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"Take a look over that ridge," Freelo replies casually.



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"There might be some supplies in that walker over there?"



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"Might be worth checking out," Rykrof grumbles.



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"Looks like it's been here for quite some time," he observes.



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"I don't know... what do you think, Caller?"



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"Drop your weapon!" an Imperial officer shouts as he appears from behind the crippled transport!



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"Not a chance!" Rykrof immediately responds as he and Caller point their blasters at the man.



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To Rykrof's surprise, the man lowers his weapon without a fight.

"I don't want any trouble," he says.



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"My whole unit's dead... no point in fighting you... or anyone," he concedes.
"My name's Ganton."



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"My name is Rykrof Enloe," Rykrof says.
"Tylin Gere sent us here to recover an artifact... what happened to your unit?" Rykrof asks.



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"I worked for Baron Gere on the Dantallion... he sent us here months ago once he secured a deal with the Badoo Corba," Ganton explains.

"We were at the research complex, but the terrorists turned on us..."



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"Then those walking corpse things appeared... we heard an explosion... it was complete chaos," he says.

"I don't know what happened... we chased a group of the Badoo Corba into the forest... and things got worse..."



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Sensing the man's desperation, Rykrof realizes that Ganton could be an asset to his mission.

"I see... can you get me to that complex?" Rykrof asks.




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"Are you crazy? I'm not going back into that nightmare..."



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"Look, we can get you off this planet," Rykrof tells him.
"But we have a job to do first. You get us to the complex, we'll get you out of here. I promise."



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"Doesn't look like I have much of a choice," the man admits.
"Follow me."



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"Here we go again," Freelo frowns.


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For nearly two hours, the group follows Ganton deeper into the forest...



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...and finally reaches the complex!



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"I was beginning to think this place didn't exist," Freelo states as the group looks on.



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"We've got to find a way in there from this side," Rykrof observes.
"Quietly."



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"Looks like a multilevel facility," Caller points out.
"Most of it should be underground."



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"If so, the laboratory should be on the first level," Freelo offers.



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"I'm in debt to you for getting us here," Rykrof tells Ganton as the Imperial begins to step ahead of the group.
"But I'll take the lead from here."



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Rykrof and the team then approach the complex...



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"One thing to remember," Rykrof insists as he turns back to the others.
"We all stick together in there..."



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"...nobody is to get separated from the group."



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"There's no telling what we're going to find in this place."



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All the while, Rykrof is unaware that the Emperor himself has an interest in the Sith artifact.



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A fresh team of Imperial forces has arrived on the island...




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"The advance teams are ready to move into position," Commander Resibar informs his superior...



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...none other than Darth Vader himself!



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"Good," Vader says as he turns to his troops.
"We proceed from here on foot. I do not want to alert our enemies to our presence."



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"Understood, Sir."



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"Take Enloe alive," Vader instructs his men.
"Kill all others that stand in our way... make no distinction between the Rebels and Badoo Corba. They are all terrorists with the same objectives."



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"But do not engage the Jedi... leave him to me."



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"Yes, Lord Vader," the Juggernaut's commanding officer replies.



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"The relic will soon be in my master's hands," Vader hisses as he heads into the forest...



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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby YAK_Chewie » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:43 pm

Unlocked and full chapter posted. Would love to hear feedback/thoughts - thanks!

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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby darthmac » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:38 pm

Great chapter, the place is starting to get pretty crowded. I'll post more comments later...
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby DarthDaddy » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:44 pm

Awesome! Elias and I made this our bedtime reading tonight. Elias said you inspired him to start making dioramas so we can make some photonovels of our own. I love that zombie Wookiee custom you made. That is one awesome figure! Can never get enough zombies! Bring them by the truckload.
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby CloneCrazy » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:52 pm

Wow... Just wow :shock: That was an excellent chapter, far superior to many published graphic novels I have read!

I loved starting off right into the action with the Rancor fight, very cool! Plus, Freelo running off because of the Rancor was a believable way to separate our heroes (which was crucial to this chapter!).

Awesome custom work on the zombies!!! There are some killer (pun intended!) figures in that lineup! This guy's my favorite Image
So awesome!!! I love the hands, what are those off?

Your set here is so lush, truly masterful. It creates an amazing sense of depth, causing us to lose ourselves in Dathomir like our heroes. Where do you get your supplies for a set that ornate!?! The water is my favorite aspect, it almost looks like it is really flowing!!!

I enjoyed the Ganton character. He served as an effective way to convey the violence and panic brought about by the mysterious artifact. Excellent way to illustrate the toll this artifact has already taken. PLUS, it was interesting to hear old Tylin's been making deals with the Bando Cobra!

My only offer of critique would be this frame Image feels very little like the Star Wars galaxy. Additionally, it really does not broadcast a foreboding feeling like the rest of the environment. I think you would have been much better served to use a frame like this
Image
It is really not a big deal, just my opinion.

With Vader, Rycrof, and the remnants of the Bando Cobra all searching for the artifact, I think it is safe to say that the Sith is about to hit the fan!!! Cannot wait for the next episode!!! Thank you so much for all your hard work on this amazing series! Truly a joy to read!!!
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby Evilivo » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:36 am

Well, my English just isn't good enough to express my feelings :) But I'll try. Having read almost all of the previous chapters, I can safely say that you get better at diorama-making with every following piece! Your photo shooting skills also improve, the points of view, the dynamics of the scenes, the setting of the décor and the décor pieces themselves - you show constant upgrade :) As for the story, it's thrilling, keeps me on the edge until the end and leaves me sorry that I have to wait sooo long for the next one.
As the others, I was fascinated by the Wookie custom, but all the others look very well, in place and natural. I don't wonder what parts are they made from, just accept them as characters. Maybe you could play some more with Photoshop the way Mr. Shayford does, so you can change their expressions? Not sure if this is a good idea, but you can give it a try.
One of the simplest customs, the Juggernaut commander is the one I liked most - this helmet in plain white on that body looks great, I would love to do it myself some day if I can get the parts for it.
And lets not forget the presentation of the characters at the beginning, that was great and very useful for the new readers.
Good job, sir :)
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby wraith_nineyak » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:20 am

Fantastic! i do agree about the landscape frame ,it sort of flies in the face of what we know about Dathomir,but apart from that it is a superb chapter ,excellent story ,well written dialogue and great action sequences and plot .
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby UKHistory » Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:59 am

All right another chapter. I could not wait for you to post this.

I love the scenery. The detail. There are some closeup shots of greenery with little green grapes or beads (little in life scale, pretty big for Enloe and company) is that real plant life or plastic? It looks great just curious.

I loved seeing glimpses of the outpost and the crashed at-st looks great. Is that the walker that had a hard time standing? If so even fitting that it is crashed like that. Wonderful photography.

The protocal droid's line about don't eat me I am metal, really hits the right tone for how we have come to know and love protocal droids. It is something C3PO might say but I don't think he did. It also makes sense that a zombie creature would not the droid is different than a food source at first. So that makes sense.

The stormtrooper officer with the at-at or painted white tie pilot helmet is off the charts. I am a big fan of the uniformity of how imperial troops look. The prequel kind of opened that up. And I think that officer stormtrooper or whatever his official designation is, really shines.

Good dialogue. Short; to the point conveying the character's feelings. I like how the at-st driver is joining up with Enloe for the moment. And Enloe did say he was working for Greere.

And perhaps the most exciting part for me is seeing Vader in all his glory lead imperial troops.

A really winning aspect of this story is how Enloe and company are facing their struggles on a smaller stage while the grand story is taking place. That gets you involved but it allows us to see this universe with different aspects. Your heroes are not reliving the same adventure of the main heroes at all. Too often in the expanded universe writers tried to keep returning the heroes to the same plot points, the same places again and again. You don't do that in my view.

It makes these moments where main characters intersect with your originals special. Do you know which Vader that is you are using? I like the helmet; it seems different than many of the Vader versions.

The wookie zombie looks great. How you have photographed him is really cool. Liked the grasping hands/arms you switched out hands...great work.

Freelo is an interesting character. He has the courage to follow Enloe and want to do the right thing. When facing the rancor, he runs. Not necessarily the smart move. Certainly not heroic. But maybe that is the point. Intentions are good but we don't know if our fight or flee instinct will take charge. Freelo reminds us that not everyone rises to the occasion
exactly the way a person should.

However, his brash, rash decision allows Enloe to get a step closer to the artifact.

So we have Badoo terrorists, imperial troops, Enloe and company with a rogue jedi, and oh yeah hungry zombies converging on one another. We have not even seen that great custom sith lord using the frost giant from the thor line yet.

This is shaping up into a great thriller.
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby YAK_Chewie » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:41 am

darthmac wrote:Great chapter, the place is starting to get pretty crowded. I'll post more comments later...


Cool - I'm eager to hear your thoughts. :)

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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby YAK_Chewie » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:47 am

DarthDaddy wrote:Awesome! Elias and I made this our bedtime reading tonight. Elias said you inspired him to start making dioramas so we can make some photonovels of our own. I love that zombie Wookiee custom you made. That is one awesome figure! Can never get enough zombies! Bring them by the truckload.


Now that is super awesome that your son and you read this together. And to see that he is wanting to start diving into photonovels is just amazing. My little boy is 6 years old - and loves photonovels too. I'm going to need to work on a GI JOE story with him at some point - he's dying to do it.

Glad you liked the customs too - and I'm pretty sure there's a couple customs that you will certainly recognize in the next chapter... 8)

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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby YAK_Chewie » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:20 am

CloneCrazy wrote:Wow... Just wow :shock: That was an excellent chapter, far superior to many published graphic novels I have read!

I loved starting off right into the action with the Rancor fight, very cool! Plus, Freelo running off because of the Rancor was a believable way to separate our heroes (which was crucial to this chapter!).

Awesome custom work on the zombies!!! There are some killer (pun intended!) figures in that lineup! This guy's my favorite Image
So awesome!!! I love the hands, what are those off?

Your set here is so lush, truly masterful. It creates an amazing sense of depth, causing us to lose ourselves in Dathomir like our heroes. Where do you get your supplies for a set that ornate!?! The water is my favorite aspect, it almost looks like it is really flowing!!!

I enjoyed the Ganton character. He served as an effective way to convey the violence and panic brought about by the mysterious artifact. Excellent way to illustrate the toll this artifact has already taken. PLUS, it was interesting to hear old Tylin's been making deals with the Bando Cobra!

My only offer of critique would be this frame Image feels very little like the Star Wars galaxy. Additionally, it really does not broadcast a foreboding feeling like the rest of the environment. I think you would have been much better served to use a frame like this
Image
It is really not a big deal, just my opinion.

With Vader, Rycrof, and the remnants of the Bando Cobra all searching for the artifact, I think it is safe to say that the Sith is about to hit the fan!!! Cannot wait for the next episode!!! Thank you so much for all your hard work on this amazing series! Truly a joy to read!!!


Thanks buddy - I'm glad that you liked what you saw.

Truth be told, this was maybe the eaisest chapter I've made in years, and that's because of the pre-work with the sets and customs... and the landscape diorama is very versatile. I'm glad that it turned out the way it did and will probably look to making other landscape scenes in a similar fashion. Most of the pieces for it were from Hobby Lobby and some of the other parts are from pet shops. My diorama thread HERE shows the basic building model for the landscape... here's some pics of it while I was working on it...

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The grassy/water section of the landscape in a couple shots is a diorama mat - check for those on ebay... just type in "diorama mat" for a nice selection. They ain't cheap, though. All the set pieces for Dathomir have cost me some moolah! But since Hasbro doesn't know how to get figures these days to retail that I want, it's less of a blow. This still goes toward my hobby.

On the Wookiee custom, I made that about 2 years ago... been saving it for this moment. The arms/hands are from a Narnia wolf figure.

One the frame of the island, I did that because I used the same pic (with different lighting) in the previous chapter. I wanted to illustrate that this is an island - hence why the zombie infestation isn't spreading all over the planet. It's isolated here. I do agree the pic could use some more atmosphere, but after a lot of image searching, this was the one I felt looked best. I saw some others that I liked to a degree but they seemed too computer generated... but that's just my own opinion.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave some feedback, and I'm really looking forward to your next chapter too! Do you have an ETA yet?

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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby CloneCrazy » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:53 am

Glad you appreciated the feedback! I see what you're saying about that frame and it does make sense to portray this on an island.

I'll have to look into those diorama mats, sounds very cool!!! Like you said, Hasbro is not making anything to spend money on!!!

As for my ETA, hopefully Oct. 7th, if everything goes according to plan! There's a lot to the coming chapters and I want to do them justice!!!

Again, awesome work!!! This is thrill to read and a masterclass in PN creation!!!
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby YAK_Chewie » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:12 pm

wraith_nineyak wrote:Fantastic! i do agree about the landscape frame ,it sort of flies in the face of what we know about Dathomir,but apart from that it is a superb chapter ,excellent story ,well written dialogue and great action sequences and plot .


Thanks, glad you liked this latest chapter. I appreciate it a lot.

As for the look of the island, I believe there are different takes on Dathomir from established Star Wars EU. I have chosen to distance myself from most of the "red tint" Clone Wars cartoon look.

Here's some various shots that I used as inspiration...

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Now... get ready to laugh... here's my original version of Dathomir... from back in 2005 with my original series!

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I did a "reboot" back in 2007 involving Dathomir...

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Image

Image

...so, I guess I am stuck in a mindset of Dathomir from before the Clone Wars series explored it. I figure it's a pretty big planet with different locations/environments...

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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby Lance Quazar » Fri Sep 20, 2013 1:21 pm

CloneCrazy wrote:
My only offer of critique would be this frame Image feels very little like the Star Wars galaxy. Additionally, it really does not broadcast a foreboding feeling like the rest of the environment. I think you would have been much better served to use a frame like this
Image
It is really not a big deal, just my opinion.



Gotta disagree with you on this one, my friend!

"Doesn't feel like the Star Wars galaxy"?? You realize the Star Wars galaxy has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of habitable worlds? You can find ANY kind of environment or terrain somewhere in that extraordinarily vast universe. What is "not Star Wars" about an island and some water? Are there no oceans in Star Wars?

I think the other image you posted looks like a cut scene from a game. The somewhat cheesy CGI look is at odds with the "realistic" look of the rest of Chewie's chapter. I think that would stand out big time, the two different styles would clash.

The image Chewie uses is an island shrouded in shadow. An appropriately spooky and evocative look for the dark story that's unfolding there. I think it's a great shot.

:D
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Re: The Enloe Trials Chapter 4 - SHADOW OF DEATH

Postby CloneCrazy » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:02 pm

Yes I realize there are millions of habitable worlds and that frame would have worked for hundreds, but not Dathomir. I find nothing foreboding about that frame. It looks like a picture from a lakeside retreat (like Naboo for example). It simply does not look like a foreboding jungle (as Dathomir is). It fails to set the proper mis en scene early in the story.

For me, it was a jarring re-entrance to Dathomir. If you don't like the CGI frame and chose not to acknowledge the CW version of Dathomir one like this could have been better Image

...so, I guess I am stuck in a mindset of Dathomir from before the Clone Wars series explored it. I figure it's a pretty big planet with different locations/environments...

I completely agree, Dathomir is a HUGE planet, with a variety of scenery. If the frame you included is what your vision of Dathomir looks like, that is absolutely what should be included!!! My critique was based on my perception that it did not gel with the rest of your darker vision of the planet.

BTW Lance, I'm really interested to hear what you thought of the newest episode of Shroud!!! Your thoughts are always valued!!!

Once again, this was the only major critique I had with the chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it as a whole!

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