Monday, August 19, 2019

Rebec - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

8 x 10 - Pencil and acrylic paint on paper
Original - Currently not available
© 2019 Christopher Burdett

The flute whispers to me, in the dark, as I am falling asleep. I hear the music. It is like nothing I could ever imagine. It is sublime. It haunts me. I have tried to play what I hear, but it is beyond my skill level. I decided to return the flute to that old Eau-de-nil that sold it to me, but his shop is always closed. The flute calls to me to play it. I am scared.

Viss We-Shun Lo - Master Flutist with the Xeni Orchestra
(Personal journal)
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Sunken Stalls - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Sunken Stalls
16 x 20 - Pencil, acrylic, and ink on paper
© 2018 Christopher Burdett

The greatest diversity on Kiervis can be seen between those that walk the land and those that swim the seas. Each can be utterly alien to the other, and yet eerily similar. The need to expand the Bazaar into the Zweoorn River and Uhtoo Bay was present from the moment the first stone of my tower was laid. The races of the rivers, lakes, and seas had a keen interest in trading with each other and those upon the land. Once the commerce began between those above and below the water their differences quickly became apparent.

Ethra VanDalia

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Judicator - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

11 x 14 - Pencil on paper

© 2017 Christopher Burdett

What’s worst than death? Finding yourself in court!

A joke often repeated by members of the Union of Thieves and Scoundrels
(Origins unknown)

I will give it to you straight. If I were you and a constable told me I needed to pay a penalty fee, even if I didn't do anything, I would pay it. Pay it on the spot, right then and there. Yeah, sure, there might be some corruption among the constables, but you do not want to take your chances and have a Judicator give the wrong verdict. Keep your nose clean and stay as far from a Judicator and the courts as possible.

Adeline Spieler – Public Defendant
(Conversation overheard in a bar)

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Eau-de-nil Elder - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Eau-de-nil Elder
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2016 Christopher Burdett

            The Eau-de-nil are some of the most skilled crafters residing in the Bazaar. Adult Eau-de-nil range from five to seven standard Bazaar cubits in height with the males being larger than the females. Their skin is a mottled gray-green with the color darkening at the end of their six limbs. Most Eau-de-nil are hairless, but it is not uncommon for larger males to have tufts of hair on their backs and around their ears. Their eyes can be dark blue to black, which gives them the appearance of having no pupils.

With four deft hands and a wealth of knowledge that has been passed down over many generations, Eau-de-nil have few crafting rivals. While capable of crafting almost anything they put their hands too, the Eau-de-nil are best known for their musical instruments. Many of the most famous musicians play Eau-de-nil instruments. Not only are the instruments capable of producing the best quality sounds, but the Eau-de-nil are also known to add secrets and surprises to everything they build. It is not uncommon for an Eau-de-nil instrument to have a secret compartment for a weapon, or for that matter to have a hidden weapon built into the instrument. Not all of the secrets of the Eau-de-nil are so aggressive, but like so many, they create what the market demands. I have personally examined musical instruments that contained compartments for extra strings or reeds, a second or even a third additional instrument, and some instruments that can be transformed into different instruments altogether.

There are accounts collected in the Tabellary of Truths that suggest that Eau-de-nil crafted instruments contain magickal properties. That said, there have never been any Eau-de-nil wielders of magicks, and there are no records to indicate the Eau-de-nil have contracted the services of magickal crafters. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence collected in Grgur’s Tome of Archaic Events from musicians claiming that their instruments can enhance their abilities, generate accompanying music, or even play themselves. Even so, there is still a lack of documented evidence that Eau-de-nil instruments are magickal or are anything more than musical instruments created by superior crafters.

Recently, some Eau-de-nil have begun to move away from focusing on musical instruments. Seeking more profitable and higher demand wares, many have started creating armor and weapons. While still sought after, there is a consensus that these other items lack something that the Eau-de-nil instruments possess. What that missing element is, I cannot say. Perhaps given enough time Eau-de-nil armor will be as widely known and praised as Eau-de-nil instruments.

Agatha Luculent Habile, Acolyte of the Impure Husk
(Research submission)
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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Belled Kreep - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Belled Kreep
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2014 Christopher Burdett

            The Kreep are a puzzling race. While mentioned at length in Ferieal’s Zoography, Woodbane’s Journal of Beings, and Quirmiere’s Compendium of Beasts there is still no definitive theory as to where they originate or how their society is structured. The Kreep that have been documented stand between four to five standard Bazaar cubits tall. Their bodies range from dark green to a dusky gray with their backs spotted in white and yellow. Their eyes are a brilliant gold with flecks of black. The Kreep’s quills and tentacles can appear pale pink, lavender, or even orange. 

A solitary Kreep will typically appear in a village, town, or even the Bazaar and wonder around ringing its bells while continuously vocalizing. The Kreep get their name from one of their more common vocalizations, or at least a shortened version of it. To this day no being has been able to decipher the hisses, clicks, chirps, and hums that are considered their spoken language. While Ferieal argues that these vocalizations are not a language, the fact that the Kreep appear capable of crafting bells, fabric, leatherwork, and various other handmade objects would give credence that they are intelligent enough to have a spoken language. Ferieal insists that the Kreep are mindless animals that merely collect found objects to adorn their bodies in the act of disguise, mate attraction, or similar instinctual behavior. From my research, this line of thought seems flawed. The Kreep seem drawn to locations inhabited by other beings. They call attention to themselves and attempt to interact with all they encounter. The Kreep are also meaningful with the use of their bells, and melodious patterns are present. Mindless animals are not known for any of these behaviors. 

There are numerous records of Kreep appearing in the Bazaar, stretching back many hundreds of years. Most documents mention a Kreep wondering the streets while ringing and vocalizing before disappearing into the depth of the Bazaar never to be seen again or leaving the Bazaar after a few weeks. In Grgur’s Tome of Uncelebrated Events, there is a notably different record from Izlalish the Knowing involving a Kreep from seven hundred and sixty-seven year ago.

A somewhat confrontational Kreep caught Izlalish the Knowing's attention, and she documented its time in the Bazaar. For several weeks this unusually large Kreep had been ringing its bells extremely loudly, making quite the commotion. The Kreep would step into the path of shoppers, seemingly on purpose, knocking many to the ground. Needless to say, this was causing a certain amount of concern with area shop owners. The confrontations continued until the Kreep crossed paths with a Woofettes. The Woofettes behaved as Woofettes do and after a very brief exchange, it savagely killed the Kreep. The inability of the Kreep and Woofettes to communicate with each other did little to de-escalate the situation. Due to the unusual circumstances of the interaction, the fact that the Woofettes had consumed some of the Kreep, and that the Woofettes was quick with reimbursement to a shop owner for lost sales during the attack and subsequent eating of the corpse, there was only a nominal penalty fee assigned to the Woofettes. What makes this all the stranger is that a second Kreep appeared in the Bazaar the very next day and directly sought out the same Woofettes. Again, being a Woofettes, after a brief interaction there was another dead Kreep. A second attack got the authorities more involved, and the Woofettes was jailed for a short time. Upon the release of the Woofettes, a third Kreep was already waiting for the Woofettes outside the jail. In a somewhat daring move, this third Kreep engaged the Woofettes immediately, and the Woofettes killed the Kreep in front of the constables. After this third fatality, the Woofettes was banished from the Bazaar. A fourth Kreep was approaching the Bazaar as the Woofettes was escorted out of the main gates. The Kreep followed the much faster Woofettes until they were both out of sight to Izlalish the Knowing.

This record only asks more questions than it answers. I fear that the Kreep will remain a mystery as long as their language remains undecipherable.

Agatha Luculent Habile, Acolyte of the Impure Husk
(Research submission)
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Friday, April 13, 2018

Keeper of the Clocks - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Keeper of the Clocks
16 x 20 - Pencil, acrylic, and ink on paper
© 2018 Christopher Burdett

To this end, I requested that clocks be created so that I might better understand the passing of time and align myself to it. I had hoped that the clocks would be to me as a lighthouse is to a ship in the night - a reference point to light the way. Unfortunately, the creation of the clocks was no easy task. My presence would affect the functioning of the clocks if I were too near them. They would speed up, slow down, or simply cease functioning. Yern Relliort, 6th High Sovereign of the Construct Guild, was yet another in a long line of those tasked with building me functioning clocks. She spent much of her adult life tirelessly working to create for me what so many others had failed to accomplish. The task was a heavy burden, and in time, death seemed to be nearing, and she was no closer to her goal than when she began. That was when Yern made an ingenious leap of faith. She had her brain removed from her body and placed in a vessel that was part of the clock’s workings.

In that very moment not only did Yern stabilize the clocks, but she also became the very first Yote. She passed beyond the flesh, and it would seem beyond the limitations of linear time. After the success with her enhancement, many of Yern’s construction team, family, friends, and even several pets volunteered to be installed into the workings of the clocks. They realized that Yern had opened the door to an existence that they had never imagined. The Yote in the clocks communicate with one another and ponder the cosmos as they ensure that the clocks continue to function without degradation.

Ethra VanDalia
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Friday, February 9, 2018

Aberrant Stilter - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Aberrant Stilter
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper
© 2014 Christopher Burdett
Being and beast, a Stilter's feast,
All go down, even the priest.
Bone and meat, head and feet,
All go down when they eat.
Run and hide, plead and fight,
All go down, with one bite.

Children's rhyme
(Origins unknown)

Why are there Giant Eaters everywhere? Will someone please tell me why there are Giant Eaters in the Bazaar?

They're what?

Stilters?! No. Those are Giant Eaters. Why are they everywhere? Why isn't everyone running for their lives? Why is everyone so calm? Why is everyone ignoring me? Please, someone, help me, I don't understand, none of this makes any sense. Nothing makes sense to me. Is this my final challenge? Have I reached the end of my journey? Have I finally reached purity of thought? I thought it would feel different.

Tryculic Frems - Pilgrim of Ghu'st - Seeker of Mental Purity
    (Last recorded words before vanishing)

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