SDO

Things and Stuff.

Fire Luen

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Luens are the physical embodiment of goleuni, and this here is a fire one. Nowadays the leuni doesn’t completely take over a being, but it’s still inside.

Husk

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I haven’t updated in forever. Here’s some writing.

Husk bore no grudges against the living. Her pursuit was of knowledge, not vengeance. She remembered few of the things he learned, however. This, in part, is what kept her from seeking any retribution for what the living had done to her. Why seek revenge, she reasoned, when I don’t even know if I was wronged?
The living allowed her to walk among them, but not unmolested. Children would throw rocks or rotten food at her; the grown would give her dirty looks or turn away. A few of the young would confront her, she was told, and beat her into submission. She never remembered these encounters.
Husk was not what they considered a “person.” All she knew of her life was relayed to her by those that hated her. She had no idea of her own history, and so she could not deny any of their accusations. They told her that she was born dead and should have stayed that way. They said her mother used unnatural magic to bring breath into her lungs. They told her that if she was meant to live in this world, she would be able to remember it. They told her she should leave this world as soon as possible.
“You are dead yet you walk the roads,” they would say to Husk. She believed them. She could see well enough that her skin was dry and clinging to her meager frame. Her gait was a shamble, slower even than the elderly matrons who tended the gardens.
“You are dead yet to speak to us,” they would say. Husk knew the sound of her own voice and how it rasped against her peeling throat as she exhaled. She knew it was not a pleasing sound to the living, and so she kept it to herself a much as she could.
“You are dead yet you read,” the meddyg would say to her. “Reading is not a skill many possess here.” The meddyg is living, Husk noted, and does not hate me.
Meddyg Yu-Isu provided Husk with much reading material. He showed much patience compared to the none-at-all the other living showed her. He had no problems at all providing her a book he had already read three time over; he understood her mind was fragile. He knew she was prone to forgetting things, especially when she is damaged.

“Yu,” Husk whispered, looking up from her book. The skin on her neck crackled as she moved.
Yu-Isu turned from his stitching to face his patient. “Pardon me a moment,” he said to the horrified man.
“I didn’t even know that thing was here,” the man said, a look of utter disgust on his face.
“That thing forgets more in a day than you will ever know,” Yu-Isu hissed in response. He jabbed the needle into his patient’s leg more roughly than required for the last few stitches before moving to the table at which Husk was seated. “How can I help you, friend?”
“I read thi—” she started, but shut her crackling lips on the word. She shook her head softly, indicating to Yu-Isu yet again that she’d forgotten what she was going to say.
He patted her lightly on the back and said, “Some day, don’t worry.”
Yu-Isu stood and collected a few herbs and vials from a cabinet before returning to his patient. “The vials,” he said to him, “You are to add to your drinks. The herbs you add to your food. They will heal you from the inside. Do not touch the stitches. Bathe in the spring in seven days and then return. Now get out, you are distracting Husk.”

Art 11-16-11

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7/25 art

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Meddyg Morlawe fashioned her meddyg robes into a squid hood.

5/25 art

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Birdman

Ibis’s Flight 3

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Though I walked ahead of Cefin and could not see him struggling, I heard increasing instances of dirt and gravel slipping under his feet. He needed to rest again, but would not admit it. He had walked for hours before coming to my home, and now I have made him walk several more.

“Let’s rest,” I said, and I heard him sit on the cave’s floor before I’d even turned around. When I did so, he looked tired, shaken, and cold.

I traded a packet of pumpkin seeds for a warm cauldron of stew. The seeds were an abundance afforded me by living near Dref Pumpen, the village Cefin presided over peaceably for a dozen years. The stew was a specialty made by a fire mage living in Tan from his abundance of rattlesnakes.

Years of knowing me and what I do apparently didn’t prepare Cefin for the sight of me removing a steaming black iron pot of food from a satchel that could easily hold no more than a couple books. I admired the look of shock on his face for a few brief seconds before I handed him a spoon and said, “Eat up. I didn’t get any bowls.” Thankfully he was hungry enough to not ask what the meat was.

I was not safe from the “Where’d you get it?” question that followed. I tried to dodge the query with a shrug and “magic.”

“Oh come off it,” Cefin replied. “You don’t have to tell me everything, can’t you just describe it a little?

“I suppose,” I replied, “That I could tell you about the craftsmanship of the box that contains the Meddyg magic without directly telling you what it is. But if I bore you to sleep I’m not waking you up.”

“I assure you that you’ll have every ounce of my remaining attention.”

“A couple thousand years ago, an Ofyddar, I won’t bore you with his full name, but we’ll call him Gallai, looked sideways at life and found an extra way to see things. He found that it allowed him to see other people looking at life sideways. They eventually worked together to hone their vision so that they could look and talk and trade sideways without doing it accidentally. Like now, I found someone who wants this empty cauldron, and she gave me some bedding.”

I didn’t hide the transfer from Cefin this time, but there wasn’t much to see. Where the cauldron once was, there were now two bed rolls. I continued, “Unlike a magician’s tricks, trading through the Leuni doesn’t need to be flashy. It just happens, everything is immediate. There’s no bang, there’s no light, there’s no smell of spent explosives.”

Cefin grabbed a bedroll. As he prepped it for sleep he said, “You could add some blast-caps to make it more exciting.”

“Some do,” I replied and prepped my bed. “The ones who want to locally swap entertainment for supplies. It’s a good thing if you’ve got nothing worth trading.”

“So this ‘loony’,” Cefin asked, “Can it handle some walls? We’re in a tunnel here and I feel exposed.”

“No, it probably can’t handle walls,” I answered, “But it can handle us. How do you feel about sleeping in a barn tonight?”

Catalyst 50+

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Older version of a character I previously painted.

Brayden’s Catalyst 1

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Brayden very much wished to attend the great college of wizards. He was not, however, invited to do so. He resolved to gain entry through illicit means and become a self-taught magician.

His first attempted approach to the grounds was under the cover of night. He meant to scale the walls at what he scouted to be an unwatched edge. He soon found that the statues standing sentinel over over the walls were in actuality very patient golems. His second and fifth attempts involved unsuccessful bribery, while everything in between involved digging. One may begin to surmise why he was not invited.

Brayden continued to monitor the entrance to the college, hoping that inspiration would hit him at some point. It did one fine spring day when he saw a young woman exiting the college grounds riding in a carriage. Though he saw her for only a brief moment, the image of her blonde, curly locks and soft, pouty lips stuck in his head. She looked to be everything he’d ever wanted in a woman and just looking at her filled him with a sense of desire. He immediately set off to follow  the carriage.

As he stepped off, a hand grabbed Brayden’s shoulder. “You don’t want to do that,” a woman’s voice said.

“Andy why not?” Brayden asked as he turned. His eyes first focused on her body, she was dressed in student’s robes that looks a size too small for her bust. He raised his eyes to her face and found himself looking at something quite the opposite of the vision of beauty he’d just witnessed. Her head was hairless and tiny horns protruded from her forehead.

“Because that was a man,” she said. “Catalyst,” she said, and offered an open hand.

“What?” Brayden instinctively shook it.

“It’s my name,” she said, breaking the handshake.

“Ri–ight. And what kind of name is Catalyst?”

“An Ofyddar name.”

“It’s stupid,”

“It’s better than Brayden.”

He looked shocked. “How did you know my name?”

“You’re stupid,” she replied, and let out a short laugh. Brayden frowned. “Let me explain, and I’m only doing this because I feel sorry for you. If I didn’t like you, I would have let you go after Princess George.”

Catalyst led Brayden toward the entrance gates of the college as she said, “You haven’t been unnoticed in what you do and you’re a bit of a joke around here. You think that because no one’s called you out when you’re hiding that you’re hiding well. And you think that because the walls are so well fortified that the people inside won’t look out. What’s going on is that we’re so well fortified we don’t feel the need to call you out when you’re stalking about. Do you follow?”

Brayden stuttered a bit, then finally let out an affirmative sigh and a nod. He looked away, ashamed, and glanced at his surroundings. He was inside the walls, for the first time in his life. Catalyst continued, “Now, I know your heart’s in the right mode, but your head’s not. What I figure is you need to be told what you’re doing wrong, and then maybe you’ll learn to do things right. Do you know what else you did wrong tonight?”

“Besides briefly lust after a cross-dressing man?” Brayden asked. Catalyst had walked them to some stone benches in the shade of the wall. The sun was getting low and soon the whole front courtyard would be covered in shadow. “Go on, tell me,” he said as he sat down.

Catalyst laughed. “You touched my hand.” She sat down next to him. “I took your name from that contact, and in exchange I gave you something I know.”

Brayden was confused by this at first, but he soon felt a piece of information bring itself to the front of his mind. It was like trying to remember a dream. He had everything there except the words to complete the thought. “You aren’t supposed to do that,” he said.

Catalyst looked immediately ecstatic. “You’re right, I’m not. How did you know?”

“I just d—” he paused, how did he know? It dawned on him quickly. “You told me when you took my name.” Brayden laughed as he rested his forehead in his hands and placed his elbows on his knees. “What do you want with me?” he said after a moment.

“You’re going to help me,” Catalyst replied. “You’re going to help me perfect this information transfer. In exchange, I’m going to let you have access to the library. I’ll check out books that interest you and bring them to my quarters, where you will be staying.”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“You will want to.”

Brayden thought for a moment about his alternatives. Finding that he didn’t have any, he said. “I want to.”

“Excellent,” Catalyst said and stood. “Come with me, it has been a long day and I need to relax in a long, hot bath.” She leaned toward Brayden and gave an exaggerated sniff of the air about him. “You will want to join me.”

Brayden, feeling the same airy desire as when he saw the she-he leaving the grounds earlier, replied, “I certainly do.”

Esben’s Tales part 2

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The next morning young Esben found his throat aching from all the talking he’d done the day before. He ate and drank in silence for the day until the Meddyg’s promised visit came. She brought with her this time another ofyddian dressed in armor and armed with a sword. He stood a foot higher than the Meddyg, but his horns were smaller and his eyes more sunken. Esben realized he was staring and turned his eyes to the more visually pleasing Meddyg (who, Esben considered, should she actually have hair, would make a wonderful wife).

Esben started to speak, and it came out first as a squeak. He cleared his throat and asked, “What have I done? To those crackpot cultists, that is.”

Meddyg Ibis sat herself next to Esben on the bed of his borrowed room. Her bulky ofyddian companion shifted to block the door. A sudden wave of dread washed over Esben as the supposition that the Meddyg and her mate were a couple of the crackpots. Seeing the discomfort in his face, Ibis (as usual) laughed. Esben smiled nervously and wondered if he would survive the jump from the second story window at this time.

The Meddyg spoke. “We sank that ship a thousand years ago in the deepest part of the ocean in hopes that history would be preserved until such time when the old gods and demons were no longer … desirable. It’s a terrible thing to destroy a story, so even I can’t forgive you for burning their books.”

Esben cowered slightly more than he’d already been cowering. “You—” he squeaked again, “You don’t look that old.”  Ibis gave him a pat on the back and laughed loudly. Esben flinched.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she continued, “I like you. You’ve done much. You’ve done what the Meddygon could never do. You’ve destroyed history, and prevented a future. A future no one would like, I’m certain of it, but that’s no matter now. Those were the only books and that order of idiots was never much concerned with sharing rituals verbally.” She gave him a motherly kiss on the forehead. “For that, I thank you.”

Esben, still quite nervous, blubbered. “I meant to p–properly dry those books,” he admitted.

“It’s no matter now, young man, there is only a story of it, and if you don’t tell anyone that your deed was all a mistake, no one will know. Now as for your dream of never lifting a finger for yourself again—” she turned to the door guard, “Dafyd, take Esben to the college, then protect him.”

The man spoke for the first time, his voice gruff like a man who’s smoked cigars since he was a teenager, “How long?”

“Until I need you again,” Ibis replied. The two men promptly vanished from the room, leaving the woman alone. She frowned.

Old Man Esben to this day tells of his heroic deeds for the order of the Meddygon and how he destroyed the order of Thedalavey (which he didn’t learn the name of until much later, but he’ll never admit that), ending a long and arduous battle of the cults.

Esben’s Tales Part 1

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Esben regarded his past as a series of trials to achieve his ultimate goal of never having to lift a finger for himself again. Having finally succeeded at this goal, he found he had far too little to do and spent most of his time regarding his past adventures. He found it much more fun now that he was old and grey to talk of these adventures rather than go on the adventures, and so Old Man Esben became his name around town and if you gave him a meal, he gave you a story.

The young ones of the village oft thought his stories false, because who on Earth could have done as much as he did?

Who could have possibly slain a dragon three-thousand times their own size, when there are so few dragon in the world? Old Man Esben did when he visited the Isla de los Dragones and defeated their great God-King Godofredo. Ask him, and he’d tell you how he went there looking for a piece of their wealth and found the dragons to be dirt-poor serfs  to a tyrannical despot. He relieved the King of his post (and his head) and left the island after a full year of celebration. With nothing to show for it, of course, but the memories as Godofredo’s body was completely destroyed in retribution and it turns out that the dragons didn’t hoard anything but sea-shells.

Who would possibly want to swim to the bottom of the ocean so search for riches? Old Man Esben did when he heard throwing coal into the deepest part of the ocean made pure diamonds appear. He swam after his coal after an hour and figured it was taking far too long for his liking, but came up a richer man anyway after raiding a sunken ship. It was too bad that the goods taken from the ship were nothing more than soggy old books, but he was sure someone would want them. And someone did, which is all the better for Esben because wet books are heavy and boring to him.

And who could possibly defeat an ancient and dark order of eldritch demon worshippers, or even get involved in that? Why Old Man Esben of course, after he offered his services to dry their water logged books and promptly burnt them to a crisp when they refused to pay him for his troubles of rescuing them.

Ask Old Man Esben what he did after that and he’ll tell you the next few years were terrible for his nerves. He did a lot of hiding, fleeing, and panicking, up until he made his way to an unspoilt village of happy people. These blissful people, seeing him in his weakened, disheveled state gave him food and a bed. They even had their Meddyg give him a visit and patch him up. Esben asked what could he give them in return for this much needed respite, and the Meddyg asked for a story.

Esben told her everything, just as he would tell anyone who asked in his current home town, because from that moment on he felt perfectly safe. He even admitted to her that his goal was to never have to lift a finger again for himself (she laughed) and it looked like he’d gotten to that point finally (she laughed again). Esben always though the ofyddians had a strange sense of humor, but he found himself laughing with her now.

She left him then, and promised to let him rest until tomorrow evening. “Then,” she said, “I shall ask more of your recent encounters. This dark order is larger than you may have realized, and you have done them a far greater injury than you can possibly imagine.” Esben swallowed air and half-choked upon it. She laughed again, more of a pleased grunt than anything, and left.