So for this week, I'm taking a break from character backstories and art to work on some larger pieces. Lunati has been busy fixing any coding issues on the site so that everything runs smoothly, and I'm working on expanding my portfolio to include some new digital pieces I've made. We have a small discord group to discuss art, lore and other nonsense, and awhile back I made some emojis for it. If anyone would like some pixel art emojis of their own for channel or community, I'm currently taking commissions for a small emoji pack (one character, with up to 8 expressions) for $25. Contact info is Tacoma #0228 on discord or email tigressfire at gmail.com.
Lunati is my wife's main character in our roleplay and stories. Lunati's own backstory had been missing for some time, and we are pleased to finally be able to share it here.
Lunati is small mouse with blue speckled spots, white fur, and a pair of butterfly wings. She grew up on the mainland Isle of Zephyr, far below the floating islands of Nimbaterra. Her family belongs to a minor Noble house in the Courts of the Fae, with Lunati being first in line to become the next Baroness of her family's lands.
Growing up, her family ran her through many tutors, lectures, and classes in etiquette so she could learn to be a proper Baroness when the time came. She was taught the ways of intrigue, politics and how to avoid assassination attempts. Lunati's education consisted of extensive schooling and she remained diligent in all of her studies. She loved socializing and making new friends, but few stuck around for very long. While friends came and went, a white ermine named Cassandra remained by her side longer than anyone else. The two shared all the secrets and stories they had over the years and their bond grew stronger with each passing day.
Cassandra endured bullying and abuse from her peers over her appearance, hobbies and whatever else her assailants could find to humiliate her. Lunati, greatly troubled by this, would walk her friend home from school as often as she could. On the days she was absent, Cassandra had to fend for herself. Cassandra didn't want to fight, she just wanted to be on her way and arrive home safely.
Pressure mounted as family piled more and more responsibilities on Lunati, along with decisions affecting minor games between the Houses of the Fae. The stress from her noble duties bled into the rest of her life. She shared her stories with Cassandra, who grew protective as the years passed. Cassandra saw Lunati as her safety net, the only one who would never let harm come to her. She followed Lunati around like a little lost puppy.
Eventually, Lunati's family began introducing her to potential suitors. Her family wanted her to marry for useful political connections, to continue the family name and strengthen the bond between the House of the Fae and other nobility. A long trail of lords and ladies formed, trying to win Lunati's favor. She turned all of them down, having neither the patience nor desire for romance at this time. Nobody had any connection to her and any marriage with another noble would end up shallow and loveless. With all her free time swallowed by family obligations, dread began gnawing away at her. Lunati knew she would have to make a decision eventually.
Lunati was frustrated, unsure of what to do. In all of this horrible madness, she turned to her best friend. Cassandra, hurt that Lunati wasn't in her life as often as before, snapped at her. She was troubled enough by her own pain and felt as though Lunati had abandoned her. Cassandra could no longer sympathize with her friend. They never walked home anymore, they rarely talked, and Lunati was spending all of her time on this stupid courting. Cassandra told Lunati to stuff all of this noble nonsense, spend more time with her, because none of it mattered at the end of the day. They argued, and Lunati was driven to tears. Her heart broke as she was pushed away by her best friend.
Left isolated by her stress, Lunati became reclusive and stopped talking to family and friends entirely. Each day passed in silence. She spoke just enough to answer her teachers and finish her studies. Family continued to press her, until one day, after her studies were complete, she packed her belongings and left home late at night. On her travels, she wandered into a tavern on a whim and decided to stay the night.
During her stay, she met a blue and white tigress named Tacoma who gave her a friendly ear. They talked about their troubles, the lost friends and broken love, and slowly bonded over heartbreak. They fell in love, and at last, Lunati found someone she could spend her life with.
And that concludes the backstory for Lunati. We aren't quite sure what next week's plan is, but it will either be more character lore or we'll take a break for something fun. Stay tuned, we're just warming up!
For today's update, I'm going into a little more detail about my main character, Tacoma. She has gone through many changes and as a result, her story has evolved a great deal over the years.
In the beginning of time, there was a great war between three dieties. The goddess of wind, Aria, who rules over all the birds of the sky, the hermaphrodite goddess of shadow, Maura, who created cats and other nocturnal predators, and the jealous, chaotic god of the ninth moon, Sethos. Maura fell madly in love with Aria, who was so beautiful to Maura that she made a tiger with fur as soft and white as clouds. This would introduce the genes for white or snow tigers. Sethos saw this and grew mad with jealousy, as he had always desired Aria for himself. His rage was the catalyst for entropy, which would slowly tear the universe apart. As a final blow to Maura, Sethos put a curse on her children, that they would never be satisfied, and would be as jealous as he was. They fought to the death, warring for millenia, and as they evolved they became brutal and bloodthirsty, killing for pleasure.
Aria saw this darkness in Maura's children and rejected her love. The cats of the earth grew jealous of the birds, being able to take off and fly away from them. Maura's heart was broken by this outcome. She had no knowledge that this was the work of Sethos, and slowly went insane mulling over what had gone wrong.
In her despair, she caught Aria alone one evening while Aria was forming clouds to send down to earth. Maura, still mad with lust for Aria, forced herself onto the wind goddess. Aria was impregnated with Maura's child. This child was Eurus, the first gryphon, a hybrid of bird and cat, that would go on to rule the skies. The offspring of Eurus would be loyal allies in combat and sky transport. As a result, Gryphons are typically regarded as a force of goodness and truth. They are a seed of light that had sprouted from despair.
On the Isle of Zephyr, a biochemist named Sky worked for years on the side to conceive a child. He wanted his offspring to take over his life's work and eventually retire in comfort. Sky specialized in studying mutations, and a select few of his experiments morphed into attempts to produce offspring of his own. His first successful experiment resulted in the birth of Tacoma. With Sky's genetic material and the ovum of a snow tiger, a viable fetus was produced and it grew. Sky's alterations caused an interesting trait to develop in the fetus. DNA identical to that found in gryphons formed independendly in Tacoma's biological blueprint. The fetus grew small feathered wings, and a hidden ability that would not be realized for some years after her birth. Sky was irritated with the results, and debated whether or not to terminate the project.
By this point, Tacoma's development was nearly complete, and Sky settled on raising her for a time to see if she could be of any aid to him. This, of course, did not happen. The fiery young tigress had her own desires and skills, and was fascinated by nature as described in the retelling of her youth. Her shapeshifting abilities only further reminded Sky of his failure, and he locked her out of his life as soon as she was old enough to fend for herself.
Tacoma would go on to train herself in combat, the knowledge of natural medicine and biology. She can harness small amounts of elemental energy in her staff, the Starcaller. Tacoma has also had some sword training, but was never particularly adept at it.
As a young adult, Tacoma wandered into a nearby town where she met the canine spy, Trixie. The two were close friends for a brief time, but had a falling out. Tacoma, very alone and confused, stumbled into a tavern one night. Here she would meet the noble mouse, Lunati. The two took an immediate liking to one another. In time, they fell madly in love and were inseperable.
Lunati and Tacoma were handfasted and started a life together on the Isle of Zephyr. They spent many peaceful years mastering spellcraft and combat training until the day a horrendous storm ravaged their home. Tacoma was injured when her leg was crushed beneath a stone column. While keeping Tacoma company and tending to her wounds, Lunati recalled a story she heard as a child about the fabled Isles of Nimbaterra, a series of small islands in the sky in a fairly remote location. Despite the fresh injury, Tacoma decided to make the journey with Lunati to Nimbaterra at once. The life they had built together laid in ruins around them, and there was nowhere else to go. The journey was long and arduous.
Upon arrival they found many new forms of plant and animal life. Most abundant were the isle's native poppies, which grew like weeds on every isle. Desperate for relief from her painful injury, Tacoma researched the effects of the poppies and found they could be harvested for their pain-relieving opium. What Tacoma didn't realize was that she would grow dependent on opium and struggle with addiction to the plant, long after her injury had healed. This would complicate her life and strain relationships, but she would overcome it with time.
As Tacoma recovered, Lunati organized transport to any friends who had their homes devestated by the storm. Together, they would hire builders to establish new homes on this newly discovered island.
A tavern was opened to offer refreshment to builders and laborers. This became "Cloud Nine," a peaceful haven to retire to after a long day's work. Under the guidance of its founders, Cloud Nine would bloom into a popular resort as many travellers came to indulge in alcohol and opium tea from the native poppies.
Together, Lunati and Tacoma would maintain the isles, hiring guards and patrolling for thieves and pillagers. For a time, life was uneventful but this peace would be short lived. Bouncer Blacktalon was terminated from Cloud Nine on allegations of murder and running an illegal gambling ring on the resort. In response, he formed the Cirrus Cartel, halting the export of opium and denying Lunati's dearest friend, Cassandra, much needed opium for her dying father. This is the chain of events that led to Cassandra going mad, building Zengre and sending these constructs of war to ravage the Isles of Nimbaterra.
The rest of the story has yet to be written. Next week, we'll discuss a character very dear to Tacoma who has told very little of her own story.
For the month of march, I'm going to flesh out some villains from the Nimbaterra Chronicles. If you're new to the site or wondering what this is all about, these are characters from the stories Lunati and I have come up with for our rp community and, eventually, our game in the early stages of development. This week, we're going to learn a bit about Cassandra Chaotica's undead sister, Cenia.
This is a character belonging to my wife, and one very dear to her personally. All of her backstory thus far has been written by Lunati and I'll be featuring it here this week.
So cold, it was so cold, moments of blackness took her.
When she awoke she saw a familiar face looking down at her, that of her sister Cassandra.
"How did you get so big?", a small tinny voice came out of her throat, much more high pitched than expected.
"I'm sorry to tell you little sister, that you had a bit of an, accident. I wasn't able to recover most of you," a small pout on her lips passed for a brief moment, and then she continued with a grin, "You did make such a delightful test subject, you even came out fully sentient, at least you aren't a drooling mess."
In a moment of shock she looked down at herself, small paws and a small white ermine body greeted her. Slowly, she glanced up at her sister once more.
"What happened to the rest of me?!" she inquired, a small bit of shock creeping into her voice.
"Oh it's over there, I just used your soul."
She glanced in the direction her sister pointed, and she saw herself, her fur falling off and mottled. Her extremities were turned to a dark blistering black from the cold, and her mouth opened with a ricktus scream.
She balked at the gruesome sight, fear forming in her beady eyes, that glowed with an effervescent sky blue.
"I'm-I'm dead?!", she screamed.
"Not quite," Cassandra replied, with mirthful glee. "You wont die, you wont feel pain. You can exist happily forever as long as you keep yourself repaired. I do hope you paid attention as I led you around my shop, my dear little sister."
"I'm one of your little clockwork weasels?!", Cenia replied with a bit of terror slipping into her voice, the obvious nature of her predicament still sinking in.
"One of my Zengre, yes, although I made sure you were a lovely white matching your former self. It wouldn't do to make you a common brown," she spit out the last words with obvious contempt.
She continued with a slight glee, "Only the best for my little sister, you will help me get what I want, you will help me get revenge on that bitch that stole my love! She was supposed to be mine! She will be mine, and if anyone dies on the way, we can have fun with them still, their screams and pain will be so delightful,"she finished with a dreamy sigh.
Shaken, a tremble of fear in her voice, the tiny ermine replied, "You mean, I can't die again, the cold won't get me? I was lost, I should be dead! I am dead! It hurt and burned and then, it was warm and I fell asleep, I couldn't get out. I was too far from our base camp, and-and-a-" she stammers, and takes a deep breath, calming herself. "How long until you found me?"
"Only a few days before we found that awful frozen corpse in the snow, it took me a couple weeks to make sure I properly trapped your soul, and got you up and running again. You're just running off of a tiny crystal embedded inside of you. It wont break and you wont have to worry about that frail fleshy body again."
The thought sunk in slowly for Cenia as she looked down, and she began to cry.~~~~~
In the following months, Cenia worked with Cassandra, learning to cope with her fate and how to take care of her new form. Over time Cenia started to build bigger bodies for herself, since she was sick and tired of being small, and for other sentient Zengre that came into the fold.
In turn, Cenia trained others to build small minions, massively accelerating their output.
Cassandra's army continued to grow, raising from merely a handful to dozens of sentient Zengre, and thousands of small woodland creatures.
While leading raids, Cenia gradually grew more and more reckless. Her former bodies laid shattered and broken, yet her small weasel-like mechanical form would crawl out and continue on. Death slowly lost its meaning to her. Anyone who died would simply be raised as a new minion.
"Nobody has to die any more," she thought. "Nobody needs to worry about being hurt. Injured flesh can merely be replaced with superior clockwork. With time, anyone who gave up their flesh could join them, and be free of pain and misery. They could live on with immortality, if they gave up their frail and weak bodies to join the Zengre."
And that concludes our villains for the month of march. Next month, well discuss some slightly better behaved characters.
For the month of march, I'm going to flesh out some villains from the Nimbaterra Chronicles. If you're new to the site or wondering what this is all about, these are characters from the stories Lunati and I have come up with for our rp community and, eventually, our game in the early stages of development. This week, we're going to take a look at the ermine Cassandra Chaotica, Queen of the Zengre.
Cassandra is my second oldest character and one who has grown considerably over the years. She has been carefully shaped from my own fears and demons which have been channeled into writing a truly terrible and wretched creature. Appearances can be deceiving, and Cassandra is the poster child of this. Despite her beauty and brilliance, Cassandra's mind is twisted beyond repair.
Cassandra seeks to purge the isles of Nimbaterra of its residents, in retaliation against Tacoma. Sometime after the establishment of the club, Cassandra's father laid on his death bed suffering in pain from a terminal illness. Cassandra pleaded to Tacoma for some of the island's pain relieving opium, but was turned away. Unbeknownst to Cassandra, exporting opium poppies had just been outlawed thanks to the Cartel's drug smuggling operations. Cassandra had already hated Tacoma, for taking away Lunati, her former best friend and love interest. She had to have been truly desperate to come to someone she resented so deeply, and to be turned away was the final knife through her heart. From this point onward, Cassandra the beautiful and brilliant mechanic, once timid and gentle, shifted into a sadistic monster. She derives pleasure from destroying anything or anyone she deems prettier than herself, or a threat to her sanity.
As a child and young adult, she was bullied relentlessly for looking like a boy. Her assailants would follow her quietly as she walked home from school, then gang up on her. They would beat her, degrade her, cut her and spit on her. As she got older, the attacks grew increasingly more violent. Lunati would try her best to accompany Cassandra, as nobody would hurt Cassandra when she had a friend at her side. But as time went on, the two drifted apart. Cassandra developed feelings for Lunati, which were unrequited. By the time Cassandra had gathered up the courage to ask Lunati if she would date her, Lunati had already found her life partner, Tacoma.
But Cassandra's life has had some bright spots, as well. Her ingenuity and inventions have won many awards, and she has amassed a great deal of wealth over the years from her work. This allowed her to build a factory and maintain continuous stock of the supplies required to build mechanical constructs. But as her mind warped with pain and betrayal, so too did her creations. Once helpful inventions were reconfigured into devices of torture and dismemberment. This is her story.
"It's early morning, the sky overhead glows a dark pink as the sun begins its ascent over the horizon. Only the ambient hum of chirping insects and the soft pat of lightly falling rain can be heard through the land. A white shadow cuts through the fog and walks silently through the puddles with heavy boots. Beads of rain splatter against them as she passes over the road. She pauses before two large metal doors leading to a factory. She lifts a remote from her belt and pulls a small mechanical lever. Suddenly, the doors shudder and grind open, granting access to the interior. It's musky inside, thick with the scent of various metals and tanned hides. Lips part with a sigh, the day has just begun and her work is seemingly never finished. But she looks forward to it, every day. All of her ambitions, all of her dreams and desires come to life in this cold, metallic fortress. Gold glitters on her armlet, belt and ring. She has worked hard for this life and she works harder still each day, to prove all of them wrong. The ones who hurt her. The ones who told her she was nothing. The girl who betrayed her trust and broke her heart. None of it mattered now. She would prevail in her endeavors, even if it destroyed her.
She sat down on a heavy chair, her short dress lifting up over her thigh. She crossed a leg over her knee and opened a small trinket box containing several metal screws and gears. With long, razor sharp claws she delicately plucked out tiny bits that she would be needing for today's project and placed them gently on an oil-stained rag. Once all the required parts were collected, she closed the box and set it down on a shelf full of anatomical figures. Most of the shelves in her factory held creations of her's; slender musteline mechanicals with jointed limbs and mouths. Real teeth were used to fill the jaws in her early creations, but these were quick to shatter if not properly sealed. Skulls and bones took up almost as much space on an adjacent shelf; these were trophies of her past victims. If they were of no use in her engineering projects, they could at least make fine decor. They served as reminders, that none would cross her without paying dearly.
As she worked diligently to assemble an assortment of metal parts, screams echoed in her mind. Screams of the ones held beneath her, flayed and shattered as they cried out for mercy. Screams of fear, of others who had caught her in the act and were then swiftly silenced by vice-like mitts, or wire, or a tool off her belt. Screams in her own bed, awakening from nightmares, searing hot pain across her flesh. Screams coming from her very mouth, held down by her hair and beaten into submission by peers larger than her. "Oh c'mon, you can take it," the voice echoed. "You're not fooling anyone, pretty thing." The screams all melded together like toxic waste stirring in her brain. She finished winding a small screw into the back of a mechanical creature that closely resembled a mink. When she was finished, she placed it upright on her workbench.
"You're here," she whispered, "As an extension of myself, my child..." her thoughts trailed off as her pale blue eyes traced the contours of her creation as though she was studying a painting. A horrid thought blew in and out of her mind in a flash, and as she composed herself again to speak, she lifted a crystal out from the pouch on her belt. She raised it up to the mechanical, red light reflecting across the metallic surface. "You will serve me as your sisters have served me." Her voice was as soft and wispy as her figure, deceivingly slight. An overhead light flickered as she opened a small hatch on the mechanical's shoulder. She lowered the crystal into a precisely measured socket, closed it up and took a few steps back. "You are born into this foul world, an agent of entropy and a reminder to all that I... WILL NOT be betrayed EVER. AGAIN." With the flick of a switch, electricity surges through her construct. A ruby glow emanates from the eyes. Well-oiled joints flex, the mouth gapes. It rears up onto its sturdy spring-loaded tail and, with a pop it lurches upward, gnashing its serrated teeth at the air. Cassandra's eyes shimmer with delight as she studies her creation's movements. Steam seeps out of the nose as it flips and dances wildly, with an eerily fluid movement that is not often seen in similar mechanicals. She closes her hands together and observes, pleased with the day's work.
As the sun dips back down below the horizon, Cassandra leaves the factory and walks home, alone. Her room is quiet, and oddly absent of any trace of her professional life. She slips out of her dress, hangs up her tool belt and crawls into a neatly made bed. As she lays down, weary and worn, the screams are silenced. The hateful voices quiet down as she drifts off into sleep. Instead, somewhere deep inside of her mind, a child cries in the dark, clutching tightly to a small stuffed animal. "I wish you were real," she chokes. "You wouldn't let them hurt me."
Next week, we'll continue the villain theme, but the upcoming character won't be quite as evil. Stay tuned.
For the month of march, I'm going to flesh out some villains from the Nimbaterra Chronicles. If you're new to the site or wondering what this is all about, these are characters from the stories Lunati and I have come up with for our rp community and, eventually, our game in the early stages of development. This week, we're going to take a look at Biaggio Blacktalon, boss of the Cirrus Cartel.
"Eight years ago, a then young adult Blacktalon first came to Nimbaterra. A towering, muscular gryphon male with silvery-black plumage. Despite being judgmental and sharp-tongued, he had a way of sorting folks out. Tacoma was pleased with his seemingly cool demeanor and no-nonsense attitude. After observing him for a month or two, she offered to hire him as a guard. He accepted gracefully and for a couple years Big was the best damn guard on the Isles. He went on to train the bulk of bouncers who worked the bar and stage areas of Cloud Nine.
Big, however, had a secret hit-list. He had as many enemies as friends, and knew how to get exactly what he wanted. In time, Big had earned a respectable sum of gold and started a gambling ring on the Isles. The gambling ring brought in more visitors, but also caused many fights to break out over accusations of cheating. Two wealthy patrons who had dealings with Big's clan went missing in the span of a month, and suspicions arose throughout Nimbaterra. The patrons were never found, but their families hired an investigation on the Isles which only caused more suspicion and hostility toward Big and his clan.
Tacoma was driven mad with stress over the ordeal and, after a long hearing from patrons and workers, came to the decision to revoke Big's Guardian title. Big was understandably upset but receeded from public sight to continue his gambling ring and assemble what would eventually become the Cirrus Cartel. Tacoma had a few trusted allies make dealings with the Cartel to gain insight into their activities. Drugs were discovered being smuggled out of Cloud Nine, many more patrons mysteriously went missing and foul play was afoot.
A high ranking cartel member caught on and threatened Tacoma when her spies were outed. Knowing the death of the owners or any high ranking officials would spell disaster for the Cartel, Big never ordered any violent acts against her. Threats were enough to keep her from retaliating. Fearing for her life and those closest to her, Tacoma chose to turn a blind eye to Big and the Cartel. She was deemed cowardly for not attempting to dismantle the Cartel, but to protect those she cared for there was no other option in her mind.
This internal conflict has caused a great political divide on the Isles of Nimbaterra. A surprising many side with the Cartel for personal gains, and others out of fear. Tacoma's presence in Cloud Nine these days is scant. She continues to plan and build new areas with Lunati and her workers but had become sheltered, alone in her anxiety."
Lunati wrote her own take on the time Blacktalon was discovered. You can read it here.
Next week, I will go into depth about another dark figure in our story. It's my second oldest character, one who is both terrifying and close to my heart. A current conflict in my life inspired me to develop them a little more, and next week I will feature this villain on the blog. Stay tuned.
So, normally I wouldn't post this type of work here, but Lunati has insisted I get in the groove of updating more. These three were relatively quick portraits drawn for my pathfinder group. I don't have much to say about them, but they kept me busy for a few days while I figure out which of my scans to tackle next. My current goal is to post once a week, even if they aren't my best pieces. This is in preparation for starting up a patreon.
Art happens to be what I spend the most time working on, and what I love doing most. I can't find a steady job due to health problems, and need to support myself somehow. While it's a lot of pressure at an already stressful time, it's keeping me going and might improve my life in some small way. We'll see.
The past week has been a continuation of everything in my last post. My wife is still tirelessly looking for work while I build my portfolio back up again. With whatever time is left at the end of the day, we flesh out our roleplaying characters a little more. There has been a family emergency and a lot of stress tied into it so each of us having creative outlets right now is cathartic.
The art in today's post is Emerey the cat alchemist, my wife's first anthro character. She was playing Emerey the night I met her on furcadia some fourteen years ago. I was roleplaying as Tasmin, my thylacine character. Both of us had just escaped bad relationships and were more or less looking for a quick yiff. Emerey was too shy to ask, but she was cute enough that I was willing to follow her around and just chat. I think I was happy just having a girl to talk to, honestly. I never imagined I'd end up marrying her, but fate has a funny way of working things out.
Emerey never got much backstory or reference, so when she decided to use this character in our pathfinder game, I was happy to devote time to make her some character art. What I didn't anticipate was how long this piece would take. I ended up using it as a digital refresher course and practicing a lot of different techniques. I continue to use a mouse on all digital paintings, as I haven't yet found a tablet that I can work faster with. As I'm flat broke, now would be a horrible time to experiment with tablets, anyway.
Two weeks later, Emerey's art is finished and I can move on. It was fun hiding little things on the bookshelf. Maybe someday I can move faster with these pieces, but for now I'm just satisfied to finish something.
Other than that, there isn't much else going on. I've been lucky to make a few etsy sales, as sporadic as they've been. Still praying that we'll catch a break sometime soon here, and not have to struggle so hard with money. Friends have been wonderfully supportive of both of us, and we're very grateful to have the few who have remained close to us this week.