This Long Period Of Silence is different from my usual Long Periods Of Silence, in that I actually do want to draw something and pin it up here, but can’t. Holidays, see. Oh, I promised myself I wouldn’t gloat, but…Nah, I made no such promise. Drum roll, please…New Zealand! As in, I am in it! Literally. I was just in a cave in Waitomo. Man, this whole country is just plain indescribable…which, I now realise, is a paradox, since ‘indescribable’ is in itself a description.
Anyway, wanted to fill the silence with some pointless fluff I wrote a couple ago. Figured I might as well get an opinion. This is all pretty raw, meaning that it’s just as I first wrote it – unedited, draft-y and possibly missing words or letters. It was just an idea I had and, again, I figured I’d get an opinion.
Her sister was always the first one people noticed.
Wherever they would go, Valentia was known throughout the city. Tall, stunning, all her curves in the right places, she was everyone’s friend. She always wore cloth that grabbed attention, jewels that shimmered in the sun. She was the merchant Haye’s daughter, she could afford it – and she made sure everyone knew she could. She was bold and arrogant and sexy, and everybody loved her for it – and so, by the natural forces of jealousy, her sister hated her for it. She didn’t care, though. She seldom cared about everything. That was what made Nil hate her the most.
Following behind her like a disinterested shadow, Nil was small, thin and pale. She tended to cloak herself from the sun, and wear men’s clothing. The only jewellery she wore was an earring made of abalone shell – she didn’t like telling people how she’d got it. She was quiet, sullen, sour-tongued and dagger-eyed – Valentia’s friends would call her and Nil Sunshine and Stormshine, respectively. On top of it all, Nil wasn’t the merchant Haye’s daughter. Or rather, the merchant Haye had to pretend that she was, else his family be shamed.
She was the daughter of a mariner, Santana Llars, who had stopped at the city harbour for a year, and then left – though not before getting to know roughly one third of the eligible women in the city, as well as two fifths of the less eligible ones. Nil estimated that she had twelve half- brothers and sisters in the residential Hearth District alone. How many in the Argosy District she called home, she did not know. Less than twelve, certainly – residents of the unofficial merchant’s district tended to be more respectable than the common rabble; yet less Byronic than the nobility of the Crystal District, amidst whose ranks she guessed walked a score of her blood siblings.
Of course Nil hated being a bastard, and of course she hated Llars for the man-slut that he was. That wasn’t the truly terribly awful part; Nil hated a lot of things.
The truly terribly horribly awful part was that, five years ago, on her twelfth birthday, Santana had returned to the city of Egress. To meet her.
Her mother had thrown a fit. A quiet one, though – she didn’t want word to get out any more than the parties involved, not to mention her husband, who had his reputation to think of. There was a balcony on the first floor that looked over the living hall: Nil had watched the argument from there. Santana was tall, svelte and tanned; but his hair was dark and his eyes were bright green, to match her own. He had worn his beard short, and had a blue paisley kerchief around his neck. He had looked for all the world like a vendor of the Argosy District, though his rope-worn hands gave him away.
He had told Nil’s mother that he cared about her. That she was the only one of his romances he had truly loved. That, if she wanted him to, he would take her daughter with him to learn her father’s trade. That he wanted to meet his little girl. That he wanted to see her, if only for a moment. Yet time after time, Nil’s mother shook her head, No. Finally, Santana Llars walked out the back door, and was never heard from again. At least, that’s what Nil’s mother thought.
Nil had quietly scrambled down the stairs after her father and burst through the back door as he was leaving. He had whirled around, and stared at her with what she had later come to think of as disbelief – disbelief that, standing before him, was whom he had come to see, and to whom had been formerly denied audience. They had faced each-other for long minutes, him lost in thought, her staring defiantly at him and beginning to wonder whether she had made the right choice. Finally, he took a step forward and hugged her. She was too surprised to pull back at first, but then realised with a start that her official father never hugged her: a thing whose absence she had never noticed until that moment. She had felt her throat begin to prickle and close up; but she had never cried before, and was determined not to start.
Words were never exchanged between them, but as he was about to leave, Llars had unhooked an earring from his paisley kerchief. He had pressed it into the palm of Nil’s hand, then turned and left, without a glance behind him. Nil had opened her hand. The earring was made of abalone, and shone like pale opal. It lay for years under her pillow until she finally gave in and had her right ear pierced.
She hadn’t taken it off since.
So there. The only other idea I have for this story it that Nil should have a best friend who’s a thousand times more likeable than her, because frankly, if you don’t at least mildly dislike Nil after reading this, then I don’t know what kind of books you’ve been reading but whatever it is you have terrible taste.
The idea is that the main character is so dislikeable that the reader actually grows to hate her – but they keep reading because her best friend is awesome and the writing is good. Then, near the climax, the main does something stupid or arrogant or badguyish and gets herself killed off. The awesome best friend becomes the real main character and saves the world the right way. Bam, ultimate satisfaction for readers. I know I want someone to write a book like that – maybe Neil Gaiman or Eliezer Yudkowsky, I don’t know.
Blimey, these things are just going ’round like a fatal disease. I was nominated by Erin this time. Obligatory rules:
Haha yeah no, I’m not linking anyone because bleh, I’m tired. Alright, let’s get this over with. Bring on the questions!
1. Why do you blog? (It’s always on there, and who am I to break tradition?)
I like sharing. It makes me feel warm ad fuzzy like I’m being hugged by rainbow gummy bears. Haha psyche It’s because I’m a showoff.
2. What do you think of every night to help you go to sleep?
I make up short stories in my head. Often they revolve around two characters facing some trial, like I dunno, they’re captured by some dread sorcerer and have to escape. Hey, I didn’t say the plots were in any way complicated, it’s just brain candy.
3. What sorts of movies do you dislike? (And don’t just say violent, gory ones, since that’s a given. Or should be.)
Romantic comedies, definitely. I just can’t bring myself to even remotely care about these random people’s pathetic love lives.
4. Do you still keep your imaginary friends around? (Most writers say yes.) If so, what are they like?
Not really, actually. I’m not sure I’ve ever really had an imaginary friend. I remember pretending to have imaginary friends when I was five, because I’d heard that that was what little girls did. But it’s always really just been me living inside my head. Now, if you’d asked if I pictured the different aspects of my mind living inside my head, that would be something I could answer.
5. Do you have imaginary friends who seem to have lives and minds of their own? What are their personalities like?
For the sake of answering the question, I’m going to go ahead and answer this question as though you were asking about the whole aspects-of-me thing and not actual imaginary friends.
I basically picture my head as the bridge of the Enterprise-D, the one from ST:TNG, only with vines growing everywhere and sunlight streaming through the broken glass of the ceiling. My conscious mind is sitting in the captain’s chair, and sitting at the different stations are the different part of my mind like Memory, Instinct, Emotion. Fashion Sense has been reported missing for about a decade, and Sexual Attraction is crying into her sparkly dress somewhere in a dark, locked basement.
6. Do you have imaginary friends who sit around and comment as you write? What are their names?
Again, no, not really. Moving on.
7. Do you have a designated “Muse”? (I have Kysherin.)
Um. I’m not entirely sure what this question is supposed to mean. I think I know what a Muse is, in Greek mythology I mean…If this is another formulation of the whole ‘imaginary friends’ question, then I think you already know the answer.
8. What outside forces and events have had the greatest impact on your outlook?
Like my outlook in life? Whether I’m a cynist or an optimist? There haven’t really been any “major” events in my life, if that’s what you’re talking about…I guess moving from the backwater village where I grew up to a city where they actually speak English helped a lot, I actually have friends now. And I guess there have been a few people I’ve met who have given me a sense of the different perspectives you can have on life? Really, I think the things that have had the greatest impact on the way I think are books. I started bulldozing through the Discworld series when I was eight, I think that’s when I truly started to grow up.
9. Do you have a place (or activity) that helps you think better? When, what, and where?
Uh, drawing, really. Emotional problems? Draw. Masssive workload? Procrastinate. Draw. Tired after a long day, but can’t fall asleep? Turn on that Bowie. Draw. Then eat something, then draw some more.
10. What are your favorite songs to work to?
Depends. Lindsey Stirling is good because there aren’t any words to distract me, it’s just endless beautiful violin rock. I’m a big Jack Johnson fan, he’s good unless you’re writing fantasy. You may have noticed that I’ve been listening to a lot of David Bowie recently, but with his stuff I like to just sit and focus on the lyrics, it’s more of a Stop-Relax sort of thing than a Help You Focus thing.
11. What is the worst attack of plot bunnies you’ve ever had?
Every waking moment of my life.
Eleven facts! This is going to be tricky.
1. I can count my friends on the fingers of one hand. One, Two, Three-Four, Aaaand yeah okay she makes Five. FOREVER ALONE
2. I tend to focus on trivial questions such as, “Does Thranduil go visit Elrond sometimes? Did Arwen ever have to babysit Thranduil’s brattish little kid? Or was Legolas actually really easy to manage when he was little? Elves reach adulthood at the age of fifty, so if Legolas was under 100 when he was drafted into the Fellowship, and he did go for family visits in Rivendell, would he have met child-Aragorn? Would he have met Gilraen? Would Gilraen have babysitted him?” Then answering all the questions and integrating them into my headcanon. (Yes. Yes. Absolutely not. Probably not. Maybe? Haha no.)
3. I don’t have any cool mutations. I wish I did, but nope, brown eyes, brown hair, nothing unusual.
4. I get mad when people say “satellite” and they’re thinking of “satellite dish”. That word you keep using, it does not mean what you think it means.
5. Quotes! I quote stuff all the time. But often nobody gets it.
6. “What do you think you know and how do you think you know it” is possibly the most useful proverb (proverb?) ever.
7. It’s past midnight and I can’t count to eleven.
Check out what I found decaying under a pile of rotting hedge clippings at the back of my sketchbook folder! It still smells kinda like socks.
My little brother came home from school once and said, “The history teacher wants us to make a film poster of the story of Romulus and Remus! We aren’t allowed to use any existing film posters.” So I offered to make one for him, and he told me who he wanted the actors to be (and I feel compelled to agree with his choice — especially since it means Sean Bean plays a character who dies, haha), and so here we are. It’s nothing glorious, I had to do it on a time limit late at night, but apparently the teacher was impressed so there.
In other news, Erin tagged me with the You-Might-Be-A-Writer-If tag, in which I have to list four to six symptoms of – surprise, surprise – being a writer. The rules are that you have to list four to six symptoms, link back to the person who tagged you, and tag a couple of other people. I’m feeling lazy, so I’ll only list four symptoms and not tag anyone. Take that, Internet! Ahem.
You might be a writer if
1. Versions of other people’s characters exist in your headcanon, going on adventures you feel you ought to write down.
2. You constantly change your opinion of the quality of your work.
3. As you read a book you’re not particularly enjoying, you begin to rewrite it in your head, deciding what should have happened, and then proceeding to talk about nothing but your “better” version at lunch for a week. Or not, because nobody probably cares / is sick of your incoherent babbling.
4. When you listen to songs, you are convinced that a story is being told, even if it just sounds like a lighthearted love song, and you spend hours poring over the lyrics to try and figure out what it is. (China Girl is about Hitler’s time-travelling hooker! Really!)
Okay, so that’s that, not much else to say really okay bye.
How on earth I ever got nominated for a Liebster Award not once, but twice, I will never know. This time, I was nominated by the stuponfucious coruscantbookshelf. Anyway, there seem to be a few different versions of the award out there, so here’s the rules again:
-blog must have <1000 followers
-nominee must answer 11 questions
-nominee must give 11 random facts about themselves
-nominee must nominate 5-11 other people and ask them 11 questions
So, answering time:
1. Which do you prefer: Old or New Republic, and why? (That’s Episodes I-III and IV-VI respectively, for the old people out there.)
Aargh, it’s been years plural since I last saw Star Wars…Um, New Republic, because [clever reason].
2. Which do you prefer: Old or New Testament, and why?
As a Christian I’m not sure I’m even allowed to have a favourite, but I’ll go with Old because while the New Testament is the story of the one most awesome hero of all time, but the Old Testament is about loads and loads of lesser-but-still-incredibly-awesome heroes. If that makes any sense.
3. Who is your favorite actor/actress absolutely of all time?
Uh-oh, a favourites question. I can never answer these. Uhhhh…David Tennant! Patrick Steward! Christopher Lee! Ian McKellan! Billy Boyd! Dominic Monaghan! Cate Blanchett! Richard O’Brien! Sigourney Weaver! Paul Atreides! KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
4. This one seems to be part of the rules: Why do you blog?
Because People seem to like to see my artwork, and I have never been one to inconvenience People.
5. If you could live anywhere in this world other than where you do, where would you choose? Practicality aside.
Well, I said New Zealand last time I was asked this question, but “practicality aside”…I think that New Zealand would still be up there, but I’d also think living in Finland — or even Longyearbyen — would be kinda cool, just to be up north where there’s still snow and you can see the lights. Or maybe just Scotland, I don’t know.
6. Favorite dictionary: Oxford, Webster, Cambridge, Chambers, Collins – what? And why?
Okay, first of all: you do realise than something like 0.2% of the population even has an opinion on this? That being said, Oxford, and I have no flipping idea why.
7. For those that write for fun: how many plot bunnies (story ideas) do you have on the go right now? How many do you think will get finished?
Oh wow. I’m not sure there’s even a number for that. In terms of the near and immediate future, though, I can only think of two that are developed enough to realistically come to fruition: a sci-fi novella set, like, not a century in the future, and a comic whose plot I can’t really describe in a short space (and also, if I actually ever get around to drawing it, spoilers).
8. What’s your opinion of fictitious superheroes?
I’m not sure I understand the question. Like Marvel and DC superheroes? I think their main problem is that they don’t just kill the bad guy. I mean, I get that good guys aren’t supposed to kill people, but since the villains just keep breaking out of incarceration it would be a lot more practical in the long run.
9. What’s your opinion of fictitious everyday heroes?
This makes even less sense to me…Like heroes of non-fantasy/sci-fi books? Or the main characters on cop shows and stuff? If it’s the first, then…I don’t know, they’re just people, doing people stuff. It depends on the character. If it’s the second, then they get points for being brave, but lose points for falling prey to obvious clichés. (Unless they’re Sherlock Holmes or something, but that should go without saying.)
10. What’s your opinion of factitious everyday heroes? (Do not quote Sherlock!)
I looked up the definition of factitious and it basically means the same thing as fictitious. I’m starting to get the feeling that you couldn’t think of any good questions and just made stuff up.
11. Have you ever been given this award before? If so how many times?
Okay, that was slightly harder than the last time. Well, on to the random facts.
Fact: I get really mad when people mispronounce words, but mispronounce quite a few myself. (Comeuppance. Co-MEW-pence. Go figure.)
Fact: I am fighting an ongoing territorial war to the death with my hair. This war has been going on for the past fifteen years.
Fact: I realised recently that I am currently living somewhere between the 60s and the 80s. I noticed this when I made a Rocky Horror joke and no-one got it.
Fact: Continuing the thought from the previous fact, I can’t stop listening to David Bowie. And I mean, not like now and then, I mean like Space Oddity, over and over and over again. Is there a help line or something?
Fact: The only Zelda game I ever really finished was Ocarina of Time. I have like fifty games, not just Zelda games, suspended in Limbo, right before the final boss/dungeon/quest. So many I can’t even count. The good news is that I’ve managed to turn my attention and effort towards one game in particular, and am focusing on finishing that one. The bad news is that this game is Skyrim. In retrospect this was probably a very poor decision.
Fact: The Sharks are objectively cooler than the Jets, and I am ashamed of being familiar enough with the story concerned to formulate this opinion.
Fact: I think spiders are really cool, but at the same time have arachnophobia. This probably shouldn’t be physically possible.
Fact: Going back to Space Oddity, I am patiently waiting for an opportunity to use the line “Ground Control to Major Tom” on my friend Tom. Again, though, I don’t think anybody would get the reference.
Fact: I never took drawing lessons. All that I know is from personal experience, as well as a few things reverse-engineered from artists such as Michael Krahulik or Der-shing Helmer. (Of Penny Arcade and The Meek respectively.)
Fact: I am entering that time of life when all the big important exams come within a three-or-four year period, and I have absolutely no idea how any of them work.
Fact: I by no means have kept a tally, but I think that there is only one book which I have read more than four times over, and ironically enough it’s a Harry Potter rationality fanfic. It’s absolute genius, you actually learn things, and you can read it over at Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
Huh, those facts were rather more random than anticipated.
Aaaand now to shove the burden of answering question onto people who aren’t me! I’m glad the minimum is five and not ten, I really don’t know that many blogs.
Sweating to Mordor: dude analyses Lord of the Rings day by day, in book time as in real time. It’s awesome and dedicated, and you will Learn Things.
Grumpy Elrond: It’s basically fanfiction written from the point of view of an incredibly cynical Elrond. I guess I was surprised with how well it was written, and yes, I laugh out loud when I read it.
The Upstairs Archives: You may or may not already know Erin as the author of Bound to the Flame, which I’ve done a couple illustrations for. Real good stuff, check it out!
Logos con Carne: Talks about all kinds of stuff, actually. Human nature and stuff. Not so deep that you can’t understand it, and absolutely worth reading.
In Somnis Veritas: I dunno, I just like reading about other people’s dreams.
K, now questions. Last time I couldn’t think of anything and just pulled really obscure who-would-win-in-a-fight questions out of a wombat’s ass, and only one person answered. Lesson learned.
1. Why do you blog/What is your goal for your blog?
2. Out of all the established fictional realms you know of — Middle-Earth, Narnia, etc. — pick one you’d like to live and one you wouldn’t want to live in.
3. Why those two? (I admit this is probably cheating, making this a separate question.)
4. Where on planet Earth would you most like to live?
5. Which film adaptation do you think is the most faithful to the original book? Why?
6. Which adaptation is the least faithful? Why?
7. If you had the chance to make one event in history not-happen, which and why? And don’t say “the Holocaust”, that’s just too obvious.
8. If you were in a band, what would you name it? Unless you ARE in a band, in which case come up with a different name for a hypothetical other band.
9. What is your favourite book?
10. Of all the characters in your favourite book, whose life would you rather lead?
11. Kirk or Picard? (If you can’t answer this question, that’s fine. There are those who consider that the RIGHT answer.)
So there you go!
Two Bound To The Flame character portraits in a row! IT MUST BE CHRISTMAS
This one’s of Queen Melilana, Rowan’s mother. I wasn’t entirely sure how to go about drawing her so I did a sort of young brunette Galadriel. Again, she turned out a bit younger than I intended. I guess I just suck at drawing people over thirty.
Something’s a bit odd with the proportions, I think, maybe in the diadem and certainly in the arms…Arms which I redrew over and over until my hands shriveled up and dropped off, so I’m just going to leave it as it is.