Tuesday, May 2, 2017

City of Curses: The Ainong or Starfolk (pt 2)

More on the Ainong tribe of humans in Crux.  Crux, City of Curses, is a dark fantasy setting of intrigues, early industry and more than a little horror. 

Sacred Crop

Each Starcircle is also defined by a signature crop.  For Northern Ainong Starcircles, they are known for honoring Phast as holy.

In the south, Starcircles seem to worship the rice they harvest.  In between, corn and other crops become sacred objects, central to their own starcircle.

Villages within a starcircle take special pride in their signature crop.  They often claim that their variety of the crop is the best in the world.  Each village has dozens of specialized varieties of that crop.  A few unique varieties are so rare that they fetch high prices in foreign markets.


Phast vines grow into the bark of trees.  It's hairy beards, much like lichen, can be harvested for use much like grain or rice.

Phast can be dried and ground up for flour or fermented into alcohol, or Siduri.  When ground or fermented, it takes on a red-purple color.

Ripe Phast beards turn a red-purplelor, but quickly turn white after being picked.  Phast grows clonally- that is, new grafts of the mother plant can be implanted into host trees.  Overplanting Phast is a common practice for quicker harvests, but it kills the host trees.  Conifers are best for hosts as some decidious trees are toxic to Phast growths.  Compared to Wheat or

Rice, Phast is always obvious in its red purple coloring, if ripe and proper.  Rotten or stale Phast foods tend to take on a blacker appearance.

Jiva Giantslayer

One of the popular folk heros of many Ainong tales are the Jiva stories.  Jiva varies from each story, always being a lazy girl whose own foolishness gets her into trouble- but she always manages to triumph through her own trickery.  She slays giants or steals vast wealth from Salira kings or Tomasi wizards.  Jiva always is seen as clever and young.  All Ainong know a Jiva story.

All Ainong claim Jiva came from their village, and that Jiva is the same Jiva in all the stories.  That the one true Jiva came from their village, not anywhere else.

Ainong Naming Conventions

All Ainong have a first name, starcircle name and a family name.  Family names among the Ainong are unique in that it is created when an Ainong couple first marries. Some keep their birth family's name, others don't.  The practice varies from family to family.

Each starcircle name is compounded together for each starcircle the Ainong belongs to.  The order of precedence is complicated, varying from geographic perspective to myth and legend.

First Names: Jiva, Cam, Gich, Kao, Nguket, Qann, Janya, Zhel, Ushkan, Rada
Family Names: Lastwater, Newblood, Heart, Cornwalker, Swordeater, Blackphast, Rootpicker, Rebel, Flagtaker, Suntiller
Starcircle Name: Bog, Rog, Lav, Vhi, Din, Thi, Juong, Ahi, Az, Urka

Thursday, April 20, 2017

City of Curses: The Ainong, or Starfolk (pt 1)

#Crux, City of Curses, is a dark fantasy setting of intrigues, early industry and more than a little horror. 

The Ainong's oldest saying is one most of them remember: there are no Kings among the Ainong.  There are no lords.  No Ainong wears a crown.  They are born with only dirt below and the stars above.

The human tribe of the Ainong always see themselves as the last.  According to Ainong legend, their people were the last children of a Dragon and a Tree, the elder children becoming the kings of the Tomasi, Salaro and Rosac.  They are often the last human tribe named in tales.  In the recorded annals of the Machine, even the Ocridese and the Soramese come before them.

The Ursyklon conquest moved around them, as the Ainong never had cities to fall or treasures to take.  Salaro Sea Lords raided them.  The Tomasi Empire conquered them, only to forget them as it fell into ruin.  Vampyres and monsters would harass them, but not one true power claimed lordship over them.  Jarn in Bor would take what they wanted from them, crossing the narrow strait from
Bor into Ainesia.

But the Ainong themselves never created any kingdoms.  Instead, they always became part of kingdoms established by Tomasi Summoner-Lords.  Or Rosac Crusaders. Or Salaro nobles during the Othebean Crusades.

They were the peasants.  The serfs.  They tended their vast forests, growing phast to feed themselves.  Each Ainong village is part of a Starcircle.  A Starcircle is a vast area.  Part of it is ruins from long ago.  It's a decentralized polity.  They overlapped one another and involved oaths of alliance between one another.

Foreign Kings would bind Starcircles to their rule.  But never were able to break how they wove the many Ainong villages together.  Ossath transverse and bond Ainong villages together.  Ossath are semidemocratic, Ainong warrior hosts.  Kings and nobles could sometimes win over the Ossath.  But other times Ossath wiped out kings or nobles that would command them.  The Ossath love freedom.

Any Ainong can join an Ossath by seeking them out.  Ossath hosts take their names from constellations.  Each Ossath would serve in the warmer months, then return back to their villages in winter.  The Ossath follow the idea of the Ainong, all swearing to never serve any king.  These days the Ossath exist between outlaws and soldiers in Ainesia.  They serve the Empress and yet many Ossath hosts are willing to disobey.


The idea of the Starcircles are more important among the Starfolk as a people than outsiders.  A starcircle refers to ancient temples found throughout Ainesia, ruins from the Aetheric Empire.  Each ruin seems built around one constellation or another.

Their locations are often around or right under Ainong Towns. One can find massive ruin complexes right in the center of a traditional Starcircle.  Right where the center of the circle would be drawn on a map.

Each village around a ruin maintains strong connections to one another.  The central town of a Starcircle often based around the ruins themselves.  Or have some proximity to it.  A Starcaller often is elected among those villages within a Starcircle's reach.  Some villages vote in many such starcaller elections.  They can sit among multiple starcircles' reaches.

A Starcaller is given the task of maintaining the old Starcircle ruins.  Some do well at this, others treat the role as symbolic.  These days the Empire of Ainesia ignores the role, often sending their own agents to poke and prod the ruins.  Each village has its own view of the surrounding Starcircle ruins.  Some dislike them, eager to get rid of the ancient structures.

Others see them as sacred and kill those who would violate them.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

City of Curses: Salaro Dragonblut and etc.

#Crux, City of Curses, is a dark fantasy setting of intrigues, early industry and more than a little horror. Here's some random thoughts on a human tribe with associations with dragons and fezes, the Salaro...


Among the Salaro, there are many tales of liaisons with Dragons.  Centuries of Salaro Dragon cults and associations with draconic entities led to the term Dragonblut, the idea that a few Salaro were descended from dragons.  Salaro have a number of fables and tales on Dragonblut.  But the most common are to explain exclusively Salaro physical traits.

A few Salaro are born with strange mutations.  Skin of a unnatural pigment- blue or crimson or bright gold.  Scales on a one's hand.  Heterochromia- two eyes of differing colors, one of which being a color not often seen in humans like purple.

Dragonblut are not Tieflings, but Salaro Tieflings can also be of Dragonblut.  The two are often mistaken for one or the other.

The only way to truly identify a dragonblut is the nature of their blood itself.  Dragonblut blood can alter the color of fire it burns in.  It isn't uncommon for Salaro Tieflings to try to fake being Dragonblut, if their physical deformities allow them to.

Salaro attribute a variety of magical abilities to Dragonblut, but there is little to no actual evidence of it outside those stories.  Dragonblut seems to endear and charm dragons.  Dragons seem to find such Salaro alluring.  This isn't always a plus, as some dragons devour dragonblut as often as become friends with them.

Perhaps the best benefit Dragonblut find is that their blood is prized as a trade good among Dragons, Demons, Devils and Fae.

Arcane inclined Salaro will always offer their blood as trade for services.  Something about the substance is viewed as valuable, even if it lacks a inherent magical effect of its own.

Salaro Adages

Here's how to sound like a Salaro!

Thinks they have longer locks.  Referring to the length of one's hair- as Salaro never cut their hair, a reference to overestimating one's own wisdom.
Only Dragons should die for gold.  A warning against dying while doing something that has no risk; Dragons squat on their gold, dying for one's own gold is less desired than dying for something more risky.
One enemy is too many, and a hundred friends are not enough.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Art, March 17th 2017

Another week, another batch of art.

St. Patrick's Day and the like.  Oh.  And Spring.  Spring is here too.  Let's throw art at then.

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

A bit of Crux this time.  And a cat.  And some experiments, both flawed and not. 

Well, let's see what I got done.

A cyberwood image of a home.  A decapitated robot head seemed like a good choice.

More color experimentation.  I think the red works.  Watching a bunch of home DIY videos on youtube might've infected my brain too.

For some reason, Harpies got into my head.  Did a bunch of research on them.  LOTS of research.  A deep hole, bird-people is.  Gharudya is a reference to the Garuda, a bird people in Hindu myth.  Took me awhile to narrow down a name, there were a lot of different ones to take ideas from.  I did do another one too... 

The second Harpy.  This took multiple attempts to get down right.

In her hand is a Sirinfetish, the magical items that Gharudya (they don't like being called harpies, btw) create from the souls of evil they collect.  I think they are flutes of a sort.  It fits I think.

No, that's the title of this one.  Almost didn't finish it.  But all darkness fades if you try hard enough.

The city of curses is a recurring setting of mine.  This is very much Crux in two ways: the skullmount in the distance (although it might look more like a black splotch) and a bird wearing a hat.  Very much a 

Because cats were a theme.  Next time I'll show the other cat thing that managed to get into my arts.

A brief experiment with coloring, but not something I'm 100% happy with.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Center Cannot Hold: The Gharudya or Harpies

Here's a Crux bit of setting.  Been working on collecting a bunch of notes and also been creating some new material.  Harpies are their own interesting mythological hole.  Here's how they are in Crux, the City of Curses.  Crux is a Magical Western Fantasy I've been fiddling with for awhile now- it is a city founded atop the skull of a forgotten dead god, filled with intrigues and arcane industrial wonders of a new age, while old enemies scheme in dark places.

Harpies, or the Gharudya: Children of the Witching Wind

Harpies dislike the word Harpy.  But unlike the Ursyklon, they do not use violence to discourage the slur.  Instead, the Gharudya tend to remember those who wronged them.  And on the day they might die, evildoers can hear their wings from a distance.

Harpies make for interesting art too.
They are cousins of the Tengu.  Gharudya believe that they must contain evil souls.  This prevents such evil souls to reincarnate into the next generation.  Like the Tengu, they too are reborn into each generation.  But Gharudya do not listen to the voices of their reincarnated souls.  Instead they collect their own reincarnated souls.

They drink the Dreamwater to learn what sins their soul has committed in the past.  Faithful Gharudya have a complicated funeral rite.  It imprisons their own souls into Sirinfetishes upon their death.  These magical items contain all the souls a Gharudya had collected in life.  A collection often made by killing evildoers, as well as finding evil souls that have recently died.

To die without imprisoning their own souls is seen as a great wrong in the minds of the Gharudya.  They do not see themselves as a good or just people.  They must be sealed away along with their prisoners to insure the betterment of the world.  The Gharudya see the diminishing numbers of their people as a sign.  It is a sign that the world is becoming better with time.

Every Gharudya has a song.  It is a mournful dirge that grows as their collection does.  But there have always been Gharudya that try to abandon their duty, that try to escape the song.  Other Gharudya know better, a harpy can never escape their song.  Most Gharudya also know how to use their song to draw others to them, to hypnotize those whose minds lose concentration enough to resist them.

Witching Winds

The Gharudya worship the Kazic goddess Kazi-Paja, the Witching Wind.  In Gharudya Kazism, Paja sacrifices her own beauty to save the world from drowning.  The lesson they learn is not to seek out the path for the world.  But instead, they are to find the witching wind and let it take over their lives completely.

Witching Wind priests often are leaders of Gharudya clutches.  Clutches are the term used for any traveling Gharudya community.  Witching Wing Priest's blessings hatch healthy eggs.  They teach the Rite of Taking, the rite that all Gharudya use to take souls from evildoers they slay or see die.  As a people, all Gharudya are nomadic.  They travel looking for evildoers.  Each clutch is more interested in searching for evil souls than building settlements.

The Gharudya have only a few handfuls of sacred sites.  One of which they share with fellow nomads, the Sabizi.  The nomadic city of Rani moves along paths that have ancient Gharudya monoliths.  The Gharudya visit them as part of sealing sirinfetishes away.  The Sabizi keep those places safe.  In turn, most Gharudya as a rule aid Sabizi whenever they see any of the greenfolk on their travels.

Wanderers and Rani

Sabizi and Gharudya often share campfires on the road.  The Sabizi dance while Gharudya play flute music.  They swap warnings of dangers.  They tell of great wonders they seen.  Both peoples even share a mutual interest in the Nagaorochi.  The Greenfolk fear their old, hidden masters.  But the Gharudya seek out Nagaorochi souls with zeal.  They are always certain that the serpentfolk have worthy evil souls for them to take.

As the Gharudya have no set homes, they wander.  Often they know trade routes better than others, making them valued guides.  Often they will take payment in the form of a convicted criminal.  In other times, they will follow rumors of those most horrible of evil souls.  They act as scouts.  More than a few Gharudya become bounty hunters.  Yet many others join Sabizi caravans.  They wander as musicians and always keeping an open eye for any evil they might cross.

Sacred Rookeries

As most Gharudya clutches wander, the only time Gharudya settle is for their eggs.  Gharudya take from a year to two years to hatch from their eggs.  Gharudya rookeries are the closest thing to actual settlements they have as a people.  The larger the rookery, the more sacred the locale becomes to them as a people.

Near Rani, large rookeries became the monolith sites the Nomadic City journeys along.  Any Rookery that sports more than twenty eggs attracts more Gharudya to it.  Until the eggs hatch, all Gharudya that hear of such a Rookery journey to it, adding to the site.  Once all the eggs have hatched, the Gharudya leave the place.

Sometimes they leave a single monolith.  Other times, they leave statues and even buildings.  Some Gharudya might come back to such places.  But most Gharudya only come back to them to die and complete their Sirinfetishes.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Art, March 10th 2017

Haven't posted something since mid-February.  Ugh.

Alright.  Rather than bombard this with past weeks of art, here is this past week's load of art.  Last week I did a personal challenge of seven colors in seven days.  This week saw the end of that.  Also, a bunch of robots.  A Lamia.  A motley collection, but my motley collection of art. (ja, a bit of stretch on some of the dates, but whatever.  Gotta share the arts with you.)

What is this? On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out. 

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

Purple.  A tower, because it felt purple to me.

Violet, the last one.  I kinda don't see why violet has to be considered different from purple or red, but... oh well.  

A bit of an action pose.  I didn't see a reason to color this, as the action in it felt fine without color.  A Cecaelia doing a roundhouse kick was kinda challenge?  I felt like it was.  

Image from my head.  A robot hanging from the ceiling.  The colors snapped very well together.  Very red, maybe an echo of my week of monochromatics.

Got a bit of a robot tear.  A friend like the idea of more robot stuff, but my second foray on it was something junkyard-ish.  Tired, my only comment on posting it was "Everything dies."

Well, that sounds positive, don't it?

I thought about arting an incarnation of stupidity or something weird like that.  But a friend insisted and I did another hanging robot.  Instead of red, I did this one in blue.  And I did a bit of rhyme paraphrasing for it too.  The factory and textured turned out pretty amazing on it.

Ugh.  I don't like how this Lamia piece turned out.   I've been researching them as a subject, but couldn't quite make it look right.  Le sigh.  And is my nature with these, I share my duds as well as my bombs.

Ja.  There are two versions of this one.  I loved my first result, but I think my obsession with the character design kept me from perfecting the composition.  It's up to you to decide which one is better.  I think the bottom one with more purples is the best one.  

I think the lesson is that I need try out more color schema and work colors more.  The time consumption of these colored pieces though, make them feel like they take forever to get done to me.

If you'd enjoyed any of these, consider commissioning a piece from me.   The cost varies from $10 to about $25.  Follow the link for instructions on how.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Art, Week of February 17th 2017

Six.  I present six pieces of artness for you this week, the week of
the Bloody Heart.

Why Bloody Heart?  Well, Valentines Day always makes me think of a Bloody Heart.  Bloody Heart Day came and went.  And the weather picked up a bit, being less snowy and depressing.  So let's see if my art reflected that. 

On twitter and instagram I post these sorts of images every day.  If you are looking for some place to follow and get these in your feed, check those out.

Also, if you want to support images like this, the stories on this blog and more, check out my patreon.  It isn't necessary for this stuff, but it'd help with expanding some of my projects a bit.  I also take commissions, so don't be afraid to message me about that.

More Cyberwood stuff.  And some experimentation too.  Only one piece really felt really good this week to me.  But the experimentation came across kinda neat.

Tall.  Maybe more concept than anything else.  Just wanted to see if the tallness would convey the right idea or not.

Asked a friend for an idea.  Managed to come up with this.  Fish.  A rainbow trout, because I come from the Western US and this is the first idea of "fish" that came to me.  Fish are... well, remarkably easy to get right.

Tired, I decided to just get some doodling.  In my head, the setting of Cyberwood requires some sort of mouth covering to survive.  Maybe I just love headgear or masks.  But I liked the variety I got done here.  And keeping it black and white worked.

Maybe a day late for Valentines day, I decided on Primroses for Bloody Heart day.  The coloring turned out pretty good.  Still, I think I've done flowers better.

This is the one I liked the best this week.  I just was trying to correctly draw Canada angry.  I got there and then some.  I've been fiddling with this character over and over, and I think I've managed to get the colors and look to where I like them.  I don't think "angry" is her default look.  But this caught the image in my head.

Today, well, for the 17th I did this.  A plate of food.  Variety.  It's how one survives.  Or one's imagination anyway.

Ok.  Another week down.  Please share any of the art you like here.  All of my art is under a creative commons, noncommercial sharealike license- that is, you can share it without my direct permission as long as you credit back to me.  And not make money off it.