31.12.16

Shlyapville Hat-Parade


 A revisit of the Shlyapville town, where the annual hatwalker festival and hat-parade is in full swing.
The hats made by the local masters are so delicate and light, that on a sufficiently windy day you could throw it up in the air and it would float like a kite.

31.10.16

Beerserker


The beerserkers are an elite mercenary band, a nightmare of every enemy and an indomitable force on a battlefield.

Their special brew - the formula is carefuly kept in secret - lends them inhuman strength and resilience during combat, so that they swing a huge barrel filled with the drink as it were a twig, landing devastating blows. Beerserkers start sluggish, but as the battle proceeds, they take sips from their "warhammer" of sorts, growing stronger and stronger with each draught, while simultaneously the weapon grows lighter, thus flying around even faster than in the beginning.

When not fighting, they resort to their favourite pastime - drinking. It takes years of training to become a beerserker, and even then, one has to stay in shape!

25.10.16

Cenfelis



The cenfelis, as you have probably guessed, are a race of creatures with half body of a cat and half of a human. They are nimble, perceptive, and fast, making them good hunters, and, surprisingly, adept singers and music performers. They also love luxury, debauchery and are, naturally, as lazy as a cat. So the invention of a mousetrap had really quite stirred things for them.

15.10.16

The Pillars


Probably one of the most spectacular and vast features of Edarneor, these rock formations usually rise straight from the sea, just off the coast. A desolate and inaccessible place as it is, rarely visited by mankind, it serves home to numerous bird colonies and unique flora.
Some winds can also be harvested only here.

Here's a bit more detailed account of the landmark's origin from one of the inhabitants.

30.9.16

Airships


These are some of the airships of late skyfaring-renaissance era.
 Distinguished from the more archaic Lightwaterships by diversity of configurations and shapes, Tanglewindships allow for a more specialized layout and faster flight, but are a devil to refuel, and also prohibitevly expensive.

31.8.16

Enyari travellers


The nomadic Enyari people are a lively and merry folk. Music, dancing, stealing, bragging and drinking contests are all an integral part of their culture. Because of the vast river network of their homeland, which is, basically, a one big delta, they have, since time immemorial, used a rather unusual means of transport for their nomadic lifestyle - a simple kayak. For Enyari, the kayak is a faithful steed, a home, a celebratory table and a deathbed.

But inevitably, progress had reached the Enyari people, in the form of voyagers and merchants, who have introduced the nomads to the art of lighter than air flight. The Enyari were faschinated, to say the least - their wanderlust burning as never before, for they have finally discovered the means to venture beyond all the too familiar waterways of their land.
But their long entrenched beliefs and tradition did not easily give way. Instead of constructing new, more adapted to flight vehicles from scratch, they went with the good old proven kayak. Only a flying one.

So, one day, hundreds and thousands of those vessels veered into the sky, and took heading to every corner of the world. Wherever foreigners see a visiting enyari craft, they cheer and wave, looking forward to the entertainment it promises.
But beware, look after your pockets!

20.8.16

Переходы и ключники

Принесено из Питера, приснившегося не в Питере.
Если из сонного Питера вам надо попасть в любой другой мир - ищите ключника или ключницу. Одна из них обретается в закрытом киоске 'Первой полосы' рядом с каким-то метро на сонной Петроградке. Там же находится переход - длинная стена кирпичного здания конца XIX - начала XX веков. У ключницы можно раздобыть ключ к двери в нужный вам мир - некоторым образом. Ключом может быть ключ, подходящий к одной из дверей в стене того здания, или гаечный ключ, подходящий к гайке на креплении водосточной трубы или спуске заземления, или просто кусок железа, совпадающий по форме с дыркой между кирпичей в стене. Добывайте ключ - и в путь. Или ищите в сонном Питере меня: как оказалось, у меня есть право потребовать и получить без оплаты любой ключ от любого мира у любого местного ключника при одном условии - что я беру ключ не для себя. Мне пока с сонной стороны Питера путь заказан. А вам счастливых дорог!

7.8.16

Eadknairese armor, Thrimas period.


Formidable sets of armor like this date back to the rule of Thrimas dynasty of Eadknair, spanning some two hundred years. Produced in quite large numbers, these sets shared most of the parts, with some variance in shape or decorations, depending on the owner's rank and role. They were highly practical, comfortable for the most part, and therefore not heavily adorned, but still had style.

This particular plate was used in Eadknair's campaign against the Centermages. That didn't go well. The centermages ended up with huge piles of steel-setar alloy junk (cleanly separated from it's vaporized owners), which they, being by and large the robed pricks, hardly had any use for. So they quickly made some of those suits into magically animated armor to guard whatever arcane treasures they deemed fit.

After several more decades, some clever bounty hunters came across one, and decided to capture the beast. After some careful preparation, they lured the walking tin (a stupid creature, if anything: no brain in an empty helmet of course!) into a pit filled with fresh liquid mortar. They poured some on top, and when the block was solid - simply dug it out. The plan was to sell the rarity to the highest bidder, but during transport, as the armor drew further away from the place of its enchantment, the magic wore off, and the scavengers were left with good quality, but absolutely mundane attire.

Over the following years the armor changed several hands until it ended up as a family heirloom in possession of one Mahk (a title, equivalent to sir) Boleere. The guy claims to have had ancestors connected to Thrimas house, and the artifact is just so handy to prove it.
Unexpectedly though, the armor fits him just right. And even seems to anticipate his movements at times. "Strange, is it? I should probably take it to a local sage, let 'im 'ave a glance..." thinks Boleere now and then.

How do I know all this, you ask? Oh, that's a long story... ;)

22.7.16

Butterfly steed



In the lands of Edarneor those fascinated by flight won't have a hard time looking for opportunities. This one, however, is for the more materially prosperous ones.
This is because breeding (and training) the giant passenger butterflies (Papilia Metaphoreas Arcana)  is not by any means a cheap and effortless procedure. Quite the opposite: the species had required centuries of careful magickal selection by the few reclusive conclaves involved. Even then, insects can't naturally survive that big, so each grown up butterfly (and you should have seen the caterpillar, oh boy!) is a combination of organic matter, metamorphic spells and protective runes - you can think of it as constantly being on life support.

That said, a butterfly mount is usually favored by the nobility, and for the purposes of recreation, rather than war (albeit it had seen some use in stealthy operations, since its flight is virtually soundless). More of a status animal, it doesn't excel in speed or altitude, but can make an extremely faithful companion, in part due to its supernatural modifications giving way to some empathy abilities.

It still has a superb maneuverability though, and is capable of migrating extremely large distances without rest, due to excellent wing area and lift properties. So what the beau monde sees as fashion, some islanders and desert-dwellers use as a necessity for traversing the oceans or other areas where landing is simply not possible.

16.6.16

Этюд на тему древнего мема

Ручка, бумага. Давным-давно.

7.6.16

Сонный метрополитен.


Я часто вижу и использую во сне метро. С каждым новым разом к нему добавляются новые, неизвестные ранее элементы, запутанные переходы, другие маршруты и поезда. Постепенно я начинаю понимать, что метро реальное — одно из измерений сонного, всего лишь проекция.

Сегодня я понял, что сонное метро, помимо всего, может работать топонимически.
Я направлялся второпях на Площадь Восстания — надо было куда-то успеть. Приехав, я вышел из поезда, перешел через еще две закрытые платформы, ибо другого выхода, казалось, не было. Проскочил под лесами строящейся станции, мимо рабочих, которые не обратили на меня особого внимания, но и я, на всякий случай, сделал вид, что прекрасно знаю куда направляюсь, и вышел во двор из, как оказалось, заброшенного здания — фасад с пустыми окнами, внутри нет перекрытий.

"Что-то тут опять строят", подумал я и направился на площадь с привычным круговым движением, однако, перейдя несколько радиальных улиц, не смог обнаружить знакомых примет. Улицы были довольно пусты, на фасадах домов классицизм соседствовал со стеклом и сталью, памятник в центре был совсем другим, больше похожим на дореволюционный, а несколько поодаль громоздился кремовых тонов округлый бетонный то ли театр, то ли музей —  нечто среднее между сиднейской оперой и российской национальной библиотекой.

На одном из перекрестков я встретился со своей старой знакомой и мы поднялись на последний этаж торгового центра, выпить по кофе. За беседой я упомянул, что, видимо, давненько не бывал в этих местах, раз здесь все так перестроили, в ответ на что она несколько удивилась.
Тогда я встал и подошел к окну, выходящему на противоположную от площади сторону. С высоты последнего этажа моему взгляду открылась остальная часть города — типично европейский пейзаж: аккуратные современные домики соседствовали с остатками готических башен и средневековых фортификаций на уходящих вдаль холмах.
Тут я начал понимать суть происходящего и спросил: "А какая именно это площадь восстания?". Из ответа я узнал, что это, конечно же, Площадь Восстания Короля Фридриха.

21.5.16

An assortment of keys.


They say the Royal Keymaster has all the keys. Shining or aged, tarnished beyond repair or never handled at all yet; crooked, twisted, straight or folded - thousands of them had passed through his subtle, knowing hands over the course of centuries.

Most come and go, but some stay, when their lock is suddenly destroyed, lost or otherwise phased out from existence.
They remain as a memento of another, impossible reality, a link to the door that cannot be opened anymore. But, perhaps, it can be, or else, what's the point?

Nobody except the Keymaster seems to know that for certain. Nobody is certain, that he, himself, does.

10.5.16

К реконструкции истории одного народа-симулякра

Робин -> Robbin' -- грабивший;
Бобин -> Bobbin' -- качавшийся (как поплавок на волнах);
Барабек -> bare back -- с голой спиной (либо со своей голой спиной, либо бывший наездником без седла);
Скушал 40 человек,
А потом и говорит:
"У меня живот болит!"
-- остальная часть оригинального стихотворения реконструируется сложнее, однако налицо народное свидетельство о нападении на относительно оседлый народ некоторого другого, кочевого. 

29.4.16

The Succession


Perhaps, the most distinct feature of an alien species that call themselves "the Transient" is the ability to exchange bodies.

This has led to many a social adaptation in various areas, ranging from warfare to everyday life, most important of which is the de facto immortality of the ruling class. Whenever an aristocrat reaches old age, he is granted a young body to exchange into, from the ranks of delinquent, offenders, or otherwise marginal elements. The victim is therefore left to live whatever little time the previous owner's aging body has, after the exchange.

The Emperor, however, won't accept just about any criminal's vessel. His successor is carefully selected among the most healthy and fit, and is given the highest honors before, and after the exchange - hardly a consolation.
Here we can see the exchange ceremony in progress: at a traditional succession site
that has been used for millennia - a cliff overlooking the empire capital. All the high-ranking nobles are present, along with the chosen one's family - which is of course instantly elevated in status. The guards are there too, just in case the candidate changes his mind in the last moment.

For the first time in history, humans are allowed to spectate. They are quite some way from home though - if one looks closely over the horizon, it's just possible to discern a star which is our Sol.