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Terebinth is a webcomic about a bird, a lizard, a tree, and a rock. Since that rather obtuse origin, it has grown to incorporate a much larger cast of characters and a larger world than just the little oasis in the middle of a great plain where the central characters live. What creator Michael H. Payne lacks in artistic polish he makes up for in wit, poetry, and all-around intelligent writing and scripting.
A Brief History
- Kestrel B. Finch - Kestrel is a male avian of unspecified species who is unusually large due to a condition similar to acromegaly. He has a highly developed mind, but also exhibits a somewhat bipolar personality, and has been known to erupt in violent rages from time to time. Emotionally sensitive, he willingly accepts a "female" role in his relationship with Cory.
- Terpsichore (Cory) - Cory is a female Lizard who was born to dance. Unfortunately, because this ability is so rare among her people, she became an object of fear and was forced to flee to solitude. She made her home near the base of the tree called Terebinth where Kestrel soon found himself. Cory's independent spirit is coupled with a stoic personality, which has helped her take care of herself in many a difficult situation. In the course of their first adventure, Cory and Kestrel become more than just friends.
- Terebinth - The tree which marks the spot where Kestrel and Cory live is a mysterious yet friendly being who draws information from far-flung regions through his deep roots. He has no aspirations except to be helpful, and perhaps to call a few creatures good friends.
- The Stone - The stone, being the only other object of note in the vicinity of Terebinth (excepting Cory's shelter), has been a source of fascination for Kestrel since he noticed it. Kestrel's artistic sensibilities led him first to paint a face on it, and later to make a hat for it. When a young mute Squirrel named Bert found his ability to speak by repeating stories he heard from the stone to his friends, the stone became even more mysterious. Its true nature is yet to be discovered.
- Other supporting characters include Bert's sister Esther, a bird named Wardell, a coyote named Sammy, and more recently Bert and Esther's, as well as Wardell's, parents.
From the first story Hat Dance, which introduced some minor characters which resurfaced much later, to the most recent, Terebinth is full of philosophy, emotional conflict, physical conflict, and suspense. Terebinth is a mature read, but without excessive violence or sexual content. Payne's primary bent as a novelist shines through the way the stories are told, yet he also manages to employ very unusual visual devices as well.