(EDIT: Added a fourth picture and some brief commentary since people seemed curious about the backstory. All but the last one are sketches or WIPs. Art is from 2010-2011.)
i. She startles at the sound of pounding footsteps, and her eyes widen when she sees the bloody mess of her sons face. Anger grows in her and she briefly considers punishing him for his slight. She figures the physical wounds and the cracks to his pride are enough to avoid a repeat performance, however.
"I told you not to bother your father," she says, and walks away to attend to the cubs.
ii. Enter Martlet, a decade later. Immaculate except for some scarring to her face from when she mouthed off to the tribe’s leader.
The evening is lovely, but there is that metallic tang to the air, like ozone before an impending thunderstorm — except this time the source is the dark and violent undercurrent of political strife slowly dividing their nation. The illusion of peace won’t last for long. A revolution is brewing, and Martlet knows it. There is nothing left for her in these woods anyway, and before the month is up, she will have begun her long trek towards the north.
iii. “The summers are beautiful. Fragrant, warm, abundance of good eating. Makes all of this worth it, you know,” he rumbles, voice muffled by snow, flesh and woolly fur.
Seeing is believing, Martlet thinks, but says nothing.
iv. They took away her jewelry, the cropped her hair, they told her to make a hole in the snow, then sleep in it. Now the oldest son has dragged her out on yet another suicide mission. “We’ll make a manticore of you yet,” the father had told her that morning.
She’s starting to wonder if she has escaped the snare only to stumble headfirst into the trou de loup.