Monday, January 30, 2017

City of Curses: Cecaelia: Introverted Sea Witches

Crux is on-again, off-again project of mine.  #Crux, City of Curses, is a dark #fantasy with guns, androids, mysteries, intrigues and lot of #magicalwestern stuff packed in.  

An offshoot of early Aboleth experiments on humans, they are called Cecaelia.  Their upper torsos are human, with the majority of their species being female and only a few males, if any.  Cecaelia are strange in that they have no elderly and most of their species looks hale and young.  

They prefer their isolation, only developing clutches based around particular prominent witches.  Witchcraft is the basis of all their communities, so much so that non-witch Cecaelia are seen as pariahs.  The Cecaelia Witches in Ith have citizenship, using their underwater talents to aid Ithic trade and research.  The Cecaelia are introverts by nature.  As such, they've rarely willingly mixed with other species.

All Cecaelia are aquatic first, although they can survive on land for a fair amount of time.
Even though they are amphibious to a large extent, they still can't live for a long time out of water without experiencing dehydration or pain.  This means most Cecaelia living amongst other species oft live within walking distance to the nearest source of water.

Blue-Blooded Superstitutions

Cecaelia are introverts by default.  As such, they often will avoid other species, even other members of their own clutch, rather than socialize or even talk.  This behavior, often out of an urge to avoid people they don't know, has long associated a number of superstitions with them.
They would rather these ideas didn't exist.  Because they find some of them embarrassing or outright harassment to deal with.

Blue Blood Cures Old Age: Cecaelian blood is blue, not red like humans.  The color has attracted a number of mystical claims.  Most often, sailors claim it can cure old age.  They point to how the Cecaelia all look so young.  They claim that it originates in their blue blood.  The Cecaelia state otherwise, often citing the spawnurge as the cause of the lack of elderly among their people (see below).

Cecaelia Ink Curses: Cecaelia have breasts, but unlike female mammals, these are ink sacs.  This includes male Cecaelia.  Like Octopi, they can be released underwater to some effect.  But Salish Sailors claim the ink can curse those who are sprayed by it.  But on the other hand, some Ramelin mystics insist Cecaelia ink makes for a potent oracular elixir.  Cecaelia don't like to talk about it at all.  They avoid the subject if they can.  Cecaelian males even dress as females to avoid having to explain why men among their people have priests.

Cecaelia Siren Songs: The last superstition is one that Cecaelia don't quite avoid encouraging.  The idea that they can steer vessels off course, or for the sea to take them, the Cecaelia smile at.  Some clutches do indeed do what they can to get ships to where they want, albeit for different reasons.  Sailors tell tales of Cecaelian Sea Witches standing upon the rocks, naked with songs, and of the seapeople that drowned trying to reach them.

The Spawnurge

Cecaelia brood.  This is called the Spawnurge by them.  The act of procreating is of great significance to them.  Brooding causes Cecaelia parents to obsess over protecting and incubating their eggs.  Octopusfolk do brood fervently.

Cecaelia will starve themselves while brooding.  Both parents almost never survive brooding.  Even parents that survive tend to die within months of their children hatching.  Cecaelia lay between a hundred and a thousand eggs, only a tiny percentage survive to adolescence.  The Spawnurge leaves young Cecaelia orphans.

Cecaelian clutches foster the young together.  Infant and child Cecaelia have no human looking features, only having their humanoid torsos manifesting around ten years of age.

Cecaelia Naming Conventions

Cecaelia do not receive names until they reach the age of thirteen.  Even then, it often is a singular name.  Often the process is simple, but varies from clutch to clutch.

Some are named based on the day of the week they hatched, often with a color placed before or after the name based on the whim of the Cecaelia.  Others are named based on which constellations are in highest prominence.

Cecaelia names all sound feminine, but they have no gender distinction in their naming.
Weekday Names: Anwen, Bryn, Ellis, Irusana, Arsansia, Xaniasa, Hod
Constellation Names: (the seven before are in addition to these) Anid, Meiriona, Iona, Thys, Zhansa
Example Name: Black Anwen, Gold Ellis, Red Iona

Cecaelia Clutches themselves tend to lack proper names too.  Because the Octopi folk are so few in number, they have little to no reason to even attempt to adopt surnames.  One or two have, often to help themselves avoid scrutiny among humans in Ith.  In some clutches, those without witchcraft often are referred to by their role in the clutch, not their name.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Art, Week of January 27th 2017

Another week of art down.

Long week for me.  But this week had some variety.  Between the cold weather and working seven days in a row, I still managed to get seven arts down.  A few duds here and there, but I think I managed to get some good ideas out of my skull too.

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.

 First off, some Shiro work for #Cyberwood.  TBH, this is also a bit of character design too.  The idea of the Shiro is that they are a kind of intelligent fungal life that takes over dead bodies (animal and plant) and fuses them together for their bodies proper.  So "the Canid" took the body of a canine.

I do have a thing for wolves, too.

Got in some coloring experimenting and I think it worked out great for this tiny piece.

 Pose practice, this time a bit of a balance.  Hee hee.

More coloring practice, which seems to be getting better and better with each iteration I try out.  The character is a recurring one, Canada of Roses.  Still working on something bigger with her.

Cyberwood interpretation of Squash.  Well, wild squash.  Wild squash is intriguing, but you don't ever realize that gourds were wild before we tamed them into pumpkins and all that.  Wild Squash looks more like watermelon.  Which seems weird.

Some character design.  Fatigue got in before I could think of proper colors.  And tbh, I still don't like the end product here.  One of those I need to do over another ten or fifteen times to be certain of.  And I went with a baker because baking seems neat.

Not dynamic art.  But kinda kewl in a creating something out of nothing sort of way.

I didn't post this one on deviantArt.  Stuff on dA I try to post the best work I can.  Since I consider this one to be subpar, it didn't get on there.

A political piece.  The themes are self-evident.  Watching the US executive branch open the floodgates for climate change to go unchallenged on a federal level scares me.  That and having clashed with enough of the alt right (read: nazi) this past week online certainly only compacts my stress and anger.  So more art like this is inbound.  That said, I still try to not be super political on this blog.

It's supposed to be fiction and not IRL stuff taking over.  To be an escape and to provide fodder for dreams of better things.

 Ugh.  Another piece I felt didn't go right.  The character on the left never came out quite right before I had to stop.  And because I've been trying to be honest about my art, I still am posting this.  The point isn't perfection.

The point is getting the work done.  I still can't stand half of it.  But in postmortem, I think I got the poses and expressions I wanted right.  Next I think I'll be trying to just do expression work, but IDK.  Sometimes I stumble into really good art just by going over and over again.
Oh and then there is this... well, monster.  I think it's just a bunch of doll arms melted together, but it could also be small children there too.  I'm kewl with any interpretation at this point.  

Make 100: The Monster is a little kickstarter going on right now.  Some folks (read: +Christopher Mennell) tagged me as part of a number of artsy (read: people draw monsters a lot) folk.  The kickstarter has an open call for monster sketches.  It will be illustrated (well, half if my understanding is right) by +Gennifer Bone, whose Monster of the Week stuff always is worth the price of entry.

  I doodled the guy above for the open call with the hashtag #monstersneeded.  You can too!  Skill isn't a barrier here.  Really inspiring, horrible monsters will prolly get somehow into the final product.

Oh, and you can help fund the book too.  It's system neutral awesomeness.  We all need more awesomeness, amirite?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In Absentia 2 (short fiction)

A bit of time travel fic.  Part 1 can be read here.


In the cold of the glacier, I saw humans.  My own species.  But different.

I could call them cave people.  But that wasn't what I saw.  Not some pop culture trope.  Three people.  They looked human.  They were human.  They had to be.  My species, us.  Humanity from ten thousand years before I had left.

Homo Sapiens.  They wore clothing.  Bearded or long haired.  Scarred.

Each of them were small.  I towered over them.  By no small amount.  I felt like a giant compared to them.

Ten thousand years back, and ancestral members of my species looked like pygmies.  I had intended to use my time machine to find such things.  To observe humanity.  To prove my thesis, that we were never as horrible as we believed we were.

My shock at seeing them for the first time delayed the apparent danger.  I stood there staring at them.  I must've shocked them as well.

I stopped staring when they started pelting rocks at me.  At me.  The same rocks that they'd been hurling at my time machine.

One stone clipped my cheek.  I dropped out of my shock.  Frustration boiled over in me.  I hadn't eaten in days.  I was lost ten thousand years in the past.  My dreams of finding true history had crumbled.  I would never see Eliza again.

Now short cave people were attacking my only shelter.  My last means of survival.

I let out a scream.  I screamed so hard my throat hurt.  I screamed until tears ran down my cheeks.  I ran out at the shorter cave people.

Then there came a rumble.  The shorter cave people ran.  I ran.  Snow came.  Ice.  Thunder and a storm clouds seemed to fill my vision.  An avalanche.

Time passed.  I don't recall how long I had blacked out.  My skin had taken a blue tinge.  Shivering, I dug my way out of the snow.  My knuckles felt numb as I found sunlight.

Cold.  I climbed out of the snow and looked around me.

Arrayed around me were three short bodies.  The cave people from before.  All of them dead.  They all still clutched tight to the stones they had had been hurling at me and my time machine.

I looked behind me.  The time machine had disappeared.  Gone.  No more shelter.

I stood up, shivering.  I clutched tightly to myself and stumbled away.  Eliza's blue eyes were in the back of my mind.  The dream of her would make me move forward.

I thought of how I looked, my numb body lumbering away.  A blue skinned giant.  A mad memory of old mythology struck me.

"Call me Ymir." I chuckled.

I moved into the forests beyond the glacier.  Hungry.  Cold.  Perhaps more willing to be a monster than I had thought I could be before.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Art, Week of January 20th 2017 (Art)

More #Cyberwood art this week.  And at least one political thing, but still.  I maintained my daily art.

Oh, maybe I missed a day.  I get to have a day off.  I checked, my boss is okay with 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.

Glass Canyons.  An idea for a locale in the Cyberwood.  I haven't written much on the blog about the Cyberwood- I plan to do things with it.  But I'm trying to polish them up more.

Most of the Cyberwood art is, mostly, me working out some ideas.

I'm not happy with this one.  But I don't try to shy away from the pieces I dislike.  I try to be honest about them.  I think it's flawed, but I'm still willing to show that there are things I think I do poorly.

Refining Canada of Roses design, and also wanted to practice some emotive work.  I ended up enjoying the coloring.  The books in particular, they came out neat.

A representation of a grafting power in Cyberwood.  Going into the Cyberwoods' dream and trawling it for data- any data that could be of use.  Like an oracle, yet different.

Neoshade.  A cyberplant equivalent of Nightshade.  Nightshade, especially when it blossoms like this, looks lovely.  I captured them to my satisfaction with this piece.  Aaand my experiments with the glyphs and the background fading worked out too.

I couldn't today.  Things aren't normal.  We can't pretend it is.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Art, Week of January 13th 2017

Oh.  Oops.

I forgot to keep up with these here.  Well, let's start over with the last week-

Oh.  Right.  It's monday.


Here's the art for the week of the 13th of January.  No notes or anything, didn't get time for them.  But here's a bit of each image for the past week.  I've found that I need to drop color to keep myself from... well, the perfect is the enemy of the good and the goal of these daily things is to get them done.  Sometimes I get wonders, sometimes blunders.

I do have to talk about them more.

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.

Monday, January 9, 2017

In Absentia 1 (Short Fiction)

Eliza's eyes were blue.  So blue I always saw the ocean in them.  Always.

We just laid there in that field.  The sky above us.  A pile of books between us.  Charcoal caked Eliza's face.  Bright, yellow sunlight made her hair glow.  Concentration scrunched up her face.

A fierce creativity that made me love her all the more.


"Hmm?"  She didn't look up from her charcoal drawing, focused on it.

"Eliza, I feel cold.  If the sun shining and I feel so cold?"

She didn't look up at me.  I saw her drawing then.  I shivered.  So cold.  The charcoal blurred away as my eyes opened.

"A dream?"  I slurred.  I fought back the tears.  A dream.  My stomach growled, my face felt like it burned from the salt in the tears that came.

Bright light hurt my eyes from outside the console window.  Bright sunlight reflected off the snow around me.  I had survived the crash.  The machine had become my shelter in this barren era.

"Of course it was a dream,"  I told myself.  "Eliza won't be alive for another ten thousand years.  Use your brain, Chrononaut."

My voice sounded raspy.  I gazed out at the cold glacier around me.  The last ice age.  A time so far away from mine that crashing here damned me.  I couldn't fix my machine.

Instead, my hungry dreams had conjured up Eliza again.  Her scent.  Her magnificent skill with art.  Eyes so blue they always reminded me of the ocean.

Why did I do this to myself?  I had wanted to find something.  I wanted to prove so much.  To go back.  To see humanity in its element.  To show we humans weren't savages, that we've always had some nobility to us.

My grand plans of going back in secret.  To use cunning and tech to spy on key moments in history.  To finally garner definite truth of so many things.

But that had been days ago.  Falling through time.  To crash here, so long ago.  The present.  I shivered in the cold wreck atop the icy glacier.

I drifted off.  I curled up in the cold.  The ruins of the time machine had served as a decent shelter.  But I had been so low on food.  Low enough I fell back into a nap.


The noise startled me into waking.  Something had hit my shelter.  My time machine.  Even ruined, it still was mine.  My life work.  The last thing that connected me with Eliza.


This time it came even louder.  I stood up, moving to the door of the small pod.  Metal clanged as something kept hitting it.

I opened the door, readying myself to scare off whatever animal had decided to assault my shelter.  What I saw next, gave me pause.