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

Time has always been a tricky concept for me. Existing outside the effects and limitations of time has left me disconnected to it. Now that I find myself living side by side with so many cursed by entropy I struggle to understand and perceive it. My disconnect goes beyond just understanding that the ‘past’ can never be experienced again, ‘now’ is gone after it is perceived, and the ‘future’ cannot be known until it is ‘now.’ It seems that my mere physical presence causes disruptions in the effects of time to those around me who are bound to it. I have witnessed many unexpected events when in the company of mortal beings. Some have withered and died in the time it took me to greet them. Others seem caught in a loop repeating actions or words that did not end until I moved away from them. It is not lost on me that some of this could be my own perception of those living in linear time. I could have remained motionless for a beings lifetime as they studied me or I may have been moving so quickly that I simply was fixating on a particular motion or sound, repeating it. Needless to say, now that I dwell in a plane of existence whose beings are bound to time I must make my peace and try my best to experience it. To this end, I have had clocks created so that I might understand how those around me perceive the passing moments. To use an analogy I once heard, the clocks are to me like a lighthouse, and I am a ship, something to give me reference and perspective. Unfortunately, the creation of the clocks was no simple accomplishment. My presence seems to affect non-living objects as well. The clocks apparently would function erratically, some moving too fast, some too slow, and some altogether breaking the moment they were started. Yern Relliort, 6th High Chairman of the Construct Guild, was tasked with the job of creating the clocks and I observed her age greatly during construction. Nearing her death Yern decided to take a huge risk, and might I say an ingenious leap of faith, and had her brain installed in the clock’s workings. Not only did she stabilize the clocks but also gave rise to the Yote. Many of her team, family, friends, and even some pets joined her in the transformation and installation into the clock. These proto-Yote communicate with each other and keep the clocks functioning without degradation. I thought to look further into how this actually works, but I figured my unnecessary proximity to the clock’s workings could cause unintended side effects. Also, as I have learned more than once, sometimes things are best left alone because a prying eye can break the magic that holds the world together.

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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Friday, January 26, 2018

Woven Shaper - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Woven Shaper
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
© 2018 Christopher Burdett

            Not many know this, but I actually met Shaper once. I found him to be a very vexing and a rather peculiar fellow. Of course, he is a striking figure, everyone knows this, but it is his smell that struck me most. A most intoxicating aroma follows him, and it reminded me of when I was a child visiting my grandparent's cottage in the foothills of Thrakaa. The skies were always clear and bright in the foothills, the grass lush and green, and a cool breeze would blow up from the distant sea. Just thinking of Shaper reminders me of his bouquet and my childhood. How strange that I should associate these two? But I am getting ahead of myself.

I was newly a Seer when I crossed paths with Shaper. Those were heady days when I was just beginning to appreciate having full authority and power within the Impure Husk. We were still wearing those ridiculous purple hoods when leaving the tower, and our cloaks were a most unsettling mauve. I am so glad I eventually found myself in a position to change the dress codes. Some said it was a trivial waste of time and energy to care so about our garments. After all, we strive for truth and knowledge. I firmly believe if we do not care for how we look then others will not care for what we do or what we have to say. All the knowledge in the world is useless if no one will listen and learn from it.

As you know, we now wear ebony cloaks and vestments and most definitely no longer wear a hood when leaving the tower. I should really have a Psychometrician consult their subjects and derive the numbers from seeing how much better our information is being accepted by the populous since converting to the new dressing. They do say the clothes make the being!

How far I have come since those first days as a Seer. It sometimes sends my mind off in so many directions to think about how much I have seen and done over the years. Of course, I am stopped in thought when considering how long Shaper has been at the Bazaar, or Ethra for that matter. Gives you perspective for sure. All my accomplishments are just a drop in the bucket for a being that has lived thousands of years. Think of all those opportunities for exquisite meals and delicious drinks they must have had. That is of course if they, in fact, eat and drink. Can you imagine such a long life without the pleasure of a fine meal or to never have your thirst quenched with the best elixir? I would consider a shorter lifespan to afford myself five meals a day like any civilized being. Granted, if they don't eat, then they might not sleep, and that would certainly free up a lot of time to put towards your work. Perhaps that is how Shaper can make so many unusual and fascinating tools.

I believe it was dusk when I met Shaper. I was looking for a new restaurant in the Woven District that day. The restaurant served specially crafted meats produced by none other than Shaper. ‘Flavors never tasted before by any being’ was the restaurant's motto. I never did find the restaurant because it turned out that the restaurant exploded earlier that very day. I had yet to learn that Sem Tygo-Mees was in that very restaurant when it exploded. At the time I was just thankful that I already had lunch plans that day. While I was wandering around the alleys and streets of the Woven District with two very hungry Acolytes and an Organizer, I turned a corner and there he was, Shaper. Standing in the middle of the street he was unmistakable. Not many beings of his size or as well dressed. Shaper's suit was a dazzling metallic crimson, and it reflected everything around him. As he moved a beautiful display of light and shape would dance across the suit. I would certainly like to know who his tailor is!

Shaper and a team of Assistants were coaxing a Breaker into a cart when he must have noticed four members of the Impure Husk out on the town for the evening. Shaper came over to us and that was when I first noticed his aroma and all at once, I was in Thrakaa. It took me a moment to collect myself and remember my manors. I began to introduce myself when Shaper interrupted me with, "Nice hood, Clever One." After which he promptly returned to the Breaker and the cart. Such an odd fellow, but his fragrance is unmistakable.

Reginald Blatherskite - Anointed Seer of the Impure Husk
(Excerpt from a lecture on Sem Tygo-Mees)

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Woven Egg - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Woven Egg
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

 Since her arrival in the Bazaar, nearly two thousand years ago, Shaper has been making and selling living tools. Stories of how Shaper makes these tools are as varied as her creations. It is widely accepted that some fairly powerful magicks and unorthodox mathematics are in use. Even so, there remains a missing piece to the puzzle that is Shaper's work. A missing piece that no one has been able to recreate, which is how Shaper continues her monopoly on living tools. Through my research, this missing piece is a device or construct referred to only as the Egg. 

While I have not been able to find any visual representations of the Egg, I have been able to uncover several descriptions. Of the dozen or so reports I have discovered, these three stand out. Nine hundred fifty-six years ago, Sysrus Ghet described the Egg as being, "Between five and six cubits in height. The sickly skin is fleshy and wet yet firm to the touch. The pale form is covered in holes from which Shaper's creations spring forth." Five hundred ninety-three years ago, Rhhutenfur K'lif Prex described the Egg as being, "A massive forty-six cubits in height, its black surface rippling with unseen power. All around its folded and creased form are large viewing ports where one can watch magick become life." One hundred two years ago Henturjox the Acclaimed described the Egg as being, "A grotesque blasphemy standing roughly twenty cubits tall. The form of the Egg is always changing - dripping, oozing, bubbling up, and caving in on itself. It is a nightmare made real. At the base can be found a massive belching maw that spits forth the vilest creations. These creations are little more than squirming feted sacks that give the appearance of life. The smell alone could knock a lesser being dead."*

Reconciling these three descriptions into one object is hard. It leaves me to speculate that either the Egg has changed over these many years or that there is, in fact, more than one Egg. The latter being most plausible simply due to the high volume of tools produced by Shaper. Since it is impossible to gain access to Shaper's tower, it is impossible to verify any of this myself. Much like the Gray Wanderer, the Egg remains one of the great mysteries of the Bazaar.

*It should be noted for transparency in my research that Sysrus Ghet, Rhhutenfur K'lif Prex, and Henturjox the Acclaimed were all thieves. Their descriptions are a result of them breaking into Shaper's tower. While some may discredit their accounts, just because they are thieves does not make them liars. It should be added that Sysrus and Rhhutenfur were listed as being murdered shortly after documenting what they had seen in the tower. Henturjox the Acclaimed was said to have lost her mind and committed suicide after recording what she had seen in the tower.

Agatha Luculent Habile, Acolyte of the Impure Husk
(Research Notes)

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Rapacious Guttersnipe - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Rapacious Guttersnipe
11 x 14 - Pencil on paper 
© 2017 Christopher Burdett

            These beasts, nay, for beasts serve a purpose and have a place at the table of our Gods. These abominations have no place in our blessed realm. For these horrors are the manifestations of the tainted souls of the wicked and sinful. Those that turn away from the Gods and the path of Ascension are doomed to live again as monsters and cursed creatures. Those that seek violence, those that seek the flesh, those that speak in false tongues, these are souls that will return to plague us. Once a soul has turned away from the light of Ascension, it is forever lost to us. Dragged into the underworld, these souls are torn apart and reformed into horrors that wish only death to the living. One can imagine what these souls endure once they are twisted and remade into these abominations. Are they aware or are they no more than thoughtless monsters striking out in pain and confusion? The only kind thing to do is to end their existence as quickly as possible.

Perhaps one day our faithful and blessed Knights of Ascension will journey deep enough under the Bazaar to find a path to the underworld and the corruption that spawns these abominations. For today we can only hold them back when they claw their way to the surface. I have asked some of the High Scholars to push for an increase in the expeditions beneath the Bazaar so that we can stop these horrors at the source. Alas, my efforts continue to be slowed by those High Scholars that seek to study and learn from these monsters. What can we glean from this? The presence of these abominations in our temple can lead to nothing but the corruption of our most sacred and holy of places. I begin to wonder if the corruption has already taken hold in the temple and if these monsters have tainted the High Scholars. If this is indeed the case, I fear for the survival of us all.

Silas Illywacker - Student of Enlightenment
(Personal journal)
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