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Story no. 51! I had to take a brief hiatus to work on an illustration for Lackington’s issue 18, which should be released sometime this month. I was very excited both about the watercolor I finished and the story which inspired it, so I am very much looking forward to having everyone see it! Besides that, there is also cow art.

As before, if you want to catch up on this story, you can read parts onetwothreefour, and five.

If you’d like to support this project, I have a Patreon! $1/month gets you art process posts; $3/month gets you extra stories and illustrations. There are also links to my Kofi and Paypal on the right-hand side of the page. 


 

The magic that rushed forth out of the human as it shouted – from its mouth, sure, but also from its hands, eyes, and curiously, its left ear – formed a thin skin between us and the pressure of the whispering. The onslaught of hostile magic from the voices of the dead sparked and slapped against the barrier, turning it various nauseating colors.

The human took another deep breath and the power of the mummies shoved it back toward us, wrapping the membrane tight against our faces. This seemed like the sort of thing that would be a problem for the human, so I wriggled my way over its shoulder and put my elbow up against the magic near its nose. A bit of pressure, and I was able to make a fist-sized opening; a bit more more peeled the magic away from its lips.

It shouted again, this time a little louder and a little longer, and the bubble expanded. This time when it ran out of air, it threw the little book up in front of its face, sending a shock wave of light out into the room.

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Story no. 41. I promised myself I would never do this again, but I’m putting this up without an illustration, to be added later.

Why, you ask, am I doing this?

BECAUSE I am currently working on the new set of illustrations for Monsters! I am releasing the novella, somewhat edited from how it appeared on this blog, as a Kindle book and, later, a paperback, with nine new black and white illustrations!

If you enjoyed reading the seven parts of Monsters here, consider pre-ordering the novella on Amazon. I also have a Patreon, where I will be putting up process images for the novella illustrations soon for $1 and above patrons.

EDITED as of 4/16/2018: Here is the illustration! I will be uploading a nicer scan when I’m back in the U.S. and have access to my scanner again. 

EDITED AGAIN as of 7/18/2018: Now you can purchase a print of this illustration!


thethingthatdoesntfit small copy

When Delia woke up, she was in a different century.

She was wearing a shift this time, and there were clothes folded over the board at the foot of the bed: quilted stays, a wool skirt of indeterminate color, a much-patched jacket. Stockings and a white cap hung off the bedpost.

She sat up, and the cat curled into her side made a soft noise, a mrrp, and stretched extravagantly. Delia offered her finger, and the cat sniffed it and then rubbed its whiskers against her hand.

There was always a cat.

The first time she tried to get dressed, she put the stays on before the stockings. Delia was quite proud of herself for getting herself up snugly but realized too late that she couldn’t bend over properly. Several minutes of tugging at the ties and wriggling later, she had gotten free again and could finally pull on the stockings.

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Story 38, part five in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you are just finding my blog now, you probably want to read part one, part two, part three, and four first. The last two installments are written; I just have to do the illustrations for them. I refuse to speculate how long those will take, as clearly every time I give myself a deadline I refuse to meet it. So!

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration, you can find that here

If you want to support me or this project, I have a Patreon


He went out from the tower,
The ancient and ruined place,
Where once humans had ruled
And now the beast slept.
The beast, with whom he had kept
Good and gentle company,
Brought him a bramble in her teeth:
The thorns as long as claws,
Sharp as death in winter.
“Wear thee this, on thy wrist,”
Said the voice in the trees.
“When its teeth have gone dull,
Know that the beast has died
Heartbroken, for want of thee.”

***

Khirkara got a ride from an old man in an ancient board-sided livestock truck, well after the sun had set. He wasn’t the only passenger; another young man with a shaved head sat in the center of the bench seat. A thin boy was asleep in the space under the dashboard. No one spoke except for the wind and the sheep crammed in the bed of the truck, who baaed fervently.

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Story 37, part four in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you are just finding my blog now, you probably want to read part one, part two, and part three first. Two more installments to go after this one! The story should finish up by Thanksgiving. 

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration, you can find that here

If you want to support me or this project, I have a Patreon


From the translation monograph of Nazar Alibek:

“The reader is given very different, often conflicting, descriptions of the beast throughout the manuscript, which again may reflect sources of differing origin and age. Late in the poem, the horse-familiar tells the shepherd that the beast was of noble birth, the daughter of a great sorcerer princess, who was transformed in this beastly aspect by a jealous rival of her mother’s. This version of the beast is described as profoundly erudite, precise and dignified in comportment, and swift and merciless in battle—all qualities one might expect to read in a standard commissioned extollment for a princess of the era. Yet earlier in the poem, the voice in the trees warns the shepherd that the beast has been imprisoned in her monstrous body for her crimes of savagery, that her exterior might better reflect the character of her soul.

The narrator also refers several times to the beast as “queen in the forest,” a phrase that shows striking similarity to the Elasim myth of “rajkath in the trees” and by extension the Mukari “rejgad,” or the Shadow Knight. While this creature is recovered from oral folklore many centuries younger than the Harbin manuscript, she is an intriguing parallel to the idea of a beast occupying the deep woods. The Shadow Knight is a gaunt woman with elongated limbs and needle-like teeth. She haunts the wildest parts of the landscape, whether forest or steppe, hunting lost travelers and children.

Whether the beast is meant to be an essentially human entity who is rescued from monstrosity, or a fundamentally monstrous one transfigured into humanity, is a subject for debate.”

***

Atzgar had turned his chair away from the fire so that he could watch what Khirkara was doing. The agreement that had been settled on, with considerable protest from the old man, was that he could examine the catalog at his leisure, but if he wanted to look at a specific book, he would need to get confirmation from his host before taking it off the shelf. Read More

Story 36, part three in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast. If you are just finding my blog now, you probably want to read part one and part two first. At this point I am expecting this story to take two or three more installments to finish up, so I guess it’s more of a novella?

If you’d like a print of this story’s illustration, you can find that here

If you want to support me or this project, I have a Patreon


treeee web

Now the beast led Heleth’s son,

This time to the very heart of the wood.

To a castle, once goodly and fair,

Now knocked one stone from another

Until only a single tower stood.

The trees wrapped its stones in their embrace,

The vines sought the warmth of its hearth.

This was the home of the beast.

They walked on a path made between

The white flowers of the snow,

For the beast’s only gentle acquaintance

Was with the green-growing things.

“Beast, will you not speak to me?”

asked Heleth’s son.

“I have done all you have asked me to do.

Why do you not speak?”

The trees rumbled and cracked,

Voices came from deep within.

“Do you not know that the Beast has no words?”

“They have been taken from her.”

***

Khirkara wasn’t sure if he’d really been walking in the wrong direction, or if the old man was leading him in a bizarre, looping route to confuse him about the actual location of the house and its occupant. Or maybe his mother had covered far more distance than he had thought possible in her semi-delirious state. It was impossible to say, and it didn’t seem like a good time to question the rigid shoulders rapidly moving away from him.

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