The Meek is a webcomic by Der-shing Helmer (last seen here as the author of Mare Internum).
Fifteen year old Angora has been dispatched to save her world by the ancient and powerful giant salamander Mocheril, whom Angora calls Grandfather. Angora is energetic, determined, and able to command plants. She is also fearfully ignorant of the world and deficient in many attributes that would facilitate her quest.
Her utter lack of clothing proves unpleasantly attention-getting.
Eluding what seems to be legions of horny lumberjacks, Angora stumbles across the camp of the outcast Pinter. Discovering that Pinter has a map of the region, she decides he will be her guide. Despite his disinclination to get involved, Pinter is recruited — drafted against his will, really — to provide Angora with much needed guidance: directions and cultural advice.
Events elsewhere will greatly complicate her quest. Decades ago, the nation Caris conquered and enslaved the peoples of the Northern Territories. Somewhat later, Caris itself is abjectly defeated. They lose their Northern Territories, among others. Now that the Northern Territories are free, their emperor, Luca deSadar, is determined that they stay that way. He keeps an iron grip on his nation (he sees any dissent as disloyalty) and he refuses to make any concessions to the humbled Caris.
Luca grudgingly agrees to give two ambassadors from Caris an audience, which does not go well. In the course of a court dinner, at which the ambassadors are present, Luca’s wife dies. She seems to have been poisoned. Luca blames Caris. As a result
Instead, he declares war against Caris.
Luca has been deeply hurt, physically and mentally, by captivity under the Carissi. He now tries to control everything and everyone around him and lashes out violently when he cannot exert control. With his wife dead, Luca is entirely under the sway of his advisor Dagre. Dagre is entirely the wrong advisor for such a ruler, as in Chaotic Evil wrong.
The Carissi are supercilious jerks, convinced that the Northerners are ignorant rubes. But there’s no real proof that they had anything to do with the death of the empress. Declaring war seems like a bit of an over-reaction. Just a bit.
You have already noted, I am sure, that there seem to be several storylines here and that they have not yet intertwined. This makes for a bit of bumpy reading experience. Ah well, early days. There are the ingredients here for a good epic fantasy.
I very much liked the art in the episodes I have read so far and would like to read more. Unfortunately, updates to the webcomic have been slow in arriving. Rather than check every day, I’ve subscribed to the comic’s mailing list; I will be alerted by email when a new episode is posted.
The Meek is available here.