Today’s snippet, titled “The Painter”, is a piece I wrote about an NPC in my Pathfinder Campaign (sort of the “King Maker” adventure path). The intention behind this was to illustrate events occurring in the world, but away from the PCs.
Be forewarned, there are mature themes and naughty language below.
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Seseris liked painting.
She was good at it, too, making various symbols and icons. One of her favorite things was finding interesting flowers and plants and roots and ochres and then mixing them up to see what hues she could make. The forests and swamps were alive with color and it made her heart sing to see such beauty as the world could hold – she wanted to capture the likeness, even if only in the rudimentary way she knew how.
“Paint this,” the King Vesket had told her, holding out an enameled cloak pin. “Paint it with this, and this.”
The latter two he sketched out in the dirt, rough images that he wanted incorporated into his new design. She had agreed immediately, clapping her hands in eager anticipation.
“When the Braves have finished the sky-light, you will paint the Spirit Hut. Much color, much light. It is a new day for Vesketyss, for all Vesketyssi. This Spirit Hut will be first – then you will go to all six Vesketyss villages and paint this there, too.”
Imprinting the King’s drawings in her mind, Seseris could only nod her acquiescence and attempt to withhold her unseemly enthusiasm. Even as the Braves began the reconstruction of the Spirit Hut, she dashed off into the forest to collect the rich colors that formed in her mind. There would be chaulk white and sulfurous yellow, bloody crimson if she could find the right shade of red ochre, and violet.
It took her a full day, rooting around in all her favorite, secret places, to find the appropriate ingredients, and a second to mix them just right. Her paints were almost magic, that’s what all the Vesketyssi said. They were vibrant beyond the ken of her people, failed to fade despite the direct touch of the sun, and though most only used one or two colors with shades of charcoal and white, Seseris’ work displayed an entire rainbow of hues.
On the third day after the strange humans – so weighed down by their steel and wealth – had killed the Vesketyssi God – Stisshak, Seseris began her work.
Each stroke of her brush seemed to be guided by the new God of the Vesketyss tribe for her eyes remained closed as she worked. Daubbing color here and there, she recreated a battle she had not witnessed in exquisite detail. Shining and golden, a heroine slays the evil pretender with her deity’s righteous wrath. Silvered and gleaming, a hero slinging spells to heal and bolster his comrades. Dark and terrible, yet handsome and noble, the Duke leads his men into the fray with scimitar raised to the sun. Cloaks snapped in some intangible wind, hair billowed, mouths parted in silent battlecry.
The scene, when complete, was the stuff of legend. Vesketyssi children would learn the unpronounceable names of the foreign heroes as early as they learned their own. Here, in the Spirit Huts of the Vesketyss nation, the people would give thanks with great reverence.
In the heart of hut, she drew the new holy symbol of the Vesketyssi: a brilliant white star with fourteen blazing points, in it’s heart, set a glowing golden sun with waving, stylized rays, and at the center, a bird rising from grey ashes to vibrant, powerful life, a trident clutched in its talons.
Transliterated into Draconic, the ancient tongue of the Lizardfolk, the four names of those who defeated the False God read:
Blackhair Burningeyes, the Duke Who Saw Lies
She-lion Sunmane, the Holy Warrior
Goldenheart Stoutspell, the Battle-Priest
Thus, they would be remembered, and thus, at least in the histories of the Vesketyssi, the three humans from Phoenixa would live forever.
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Note: Image is “Cave Drawings 2” by (bjearwicke) from SXC.hu