Art: Mondigan 100 (Color)

So, after three days and another thirty hours since I finished the gray-scale version, we have a color version. Getting a scheme down (when I started with none), with green and gold, at 3 AM, was pretty difficult.

For the record, my character, Rivek is fifteen years old as of yesterday. I obviously don't remember the day I created him. It's just his in-story birthday. But originally, he was a nice, Gary Stu mix of Prince Jonathan of Tortall and Tobias from Animorphs. He, everyone else in the series, and I have come a long way. We grew up together. This will be the cover for when I collect all 100 of these theme pieces. You can check them (and the story) out here: [link]

Again, I really, really, can't thank you followers enough for your quiet, steady, support with my original work. It's months later, and I am still floored by the response to this poll. I sometimes assume people follow me from conventions and expect mostly fanart. I could probably way more popular if I drew Harry Potter all day. But, this is what I'm really passionate about. So it's really heartwarming that so many of you take interest in what create for myself. I do apologize that it's so in-pieces when I present it to you - but I haven't worked my story out entirely! It is getting there, though. :) This project - and what I am learning here in Los Angeles - has been a huge help.


Art: Mondigan 100 (Black and White)

And eighty hours of work later... happy birthday to my fictional character, haha. I'm finally glad to do a piece of this magnitude, especially for myself. Thank you all so much for the support, reading my weird writings and everything. You guys don't know how much it means to me.

This will be the cover for when I collect all 100 of these theme pieces. You can check them (and the story) out here: [link]

Click to full-view on deviantART!

Art: Rivek Genderbend

I can't believe I've managed to post 30 drawings over 30 days! There's more to come later tonight.

But for now - have a picture of Rivek as a girl. Everyone needs a little gender-bend now and then. I tried to give her a skirt, but I just had to make it shorter and shorter. ~finni insisted on giant breasts and a panty shot, hahaha. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a legit gender-bend, would it?

My story would be so much more popular if Rivek looked like this. *sobs*


Art: 062/100 Themes - Magic

"Magikan." Magic. - 062/100 Themes.

Because power is frequently associated with magic, nobles and clergy obsessively maintain their lineages to only include strong mages. Types of magic are passed from parent to child similarly to blood type. There are two alleles - one for light magic and one for dark magic.

Possessing one allele of a certain type will give a person passive magic, such as enhanced intelligence or a particular talent. Possessing two of a certain type will give active magic, which allows for actual control of one’s surroundings. Possessing neither will result in a non-magic person, but so will possessing both. Each allele will cancel the effect of the other. However, they can still be passed on to children, resulting in magical children being born to non-magical parents, and magic children being born an opposite type from magic parents.

Magic, when not outright used, is undetectable without special means. Because of this, some families of mages have cultivated a heightened-awareness ability that lets them detect other mages.

Most magic children will display certain affinities or exhibit unusual behavior associated with their power. However, these displays tend to be uncontrollable as powers do not solidify and reach maximum potential until puberty. After physical maturity, most passive mages are able to keep their powers in check. However, active mages may lose control when in heightened emotional states. Due to the significant population of double-allele dark-mages in the Alisian islands, citizens adopt meditative practices to help maintain order.

Light mages are more susceptible to diseases caused by blockages of the cardiac system such as heart attacks and strokes. Similarly, dark-mages are more prone to ruptures of the cardiac system such as aneurysms and internal bleeding. Mages of both types have, on average, a shorter lifespan than non-magical peoples.

Perrin's father has a single-allele light-mage, and her estranged mother was a single-allele dark-mage. As a result, she inherited dark-magic powers seemingly out of nowhere. However, her ability is 'passive'. While she cannot manipulate the world around her, she can see and feel both types of magic - giving her the ability to pinpoint other, more hidden, users.


Rivek leaned against the wall of the lab. “Perrin should come with me.”

Eamon sat at his desk, ostensibly ignoring the dark-mage who was rapping his knuckles against the door. “No, Rivek. It’s too dangerous.”

Rivek ripped the paper he was staring at out from under his nose. “We’re all going to be in danger if we don’t stop Sorian, and she can do just that.”

Eamon turned around to break eye contact. “My daughter - my only daughter - is fifteen.”

“And she is a lot more capable than I was at that age - and I was capable of a lot.”

“Capable of getting into a lot of trouble!” He stood and thrust the chair under his desk.

Rivek crossed his arms and planted himself between Eamon and the doorway. “I know it’s hard for you to accept, but Perrin has dark-magic. She can find others like her, like me. Like us. And as much as you hate it, you said it yourself - we need black arts to win this war.“

“You know that if we lose, we burn. She and I both.” He set a map on the table, a chart had been marked for his estranged homeland, the Alisian Islands. “If you care for her at all, Eamon, let her join my mission. Let her have what she wants.”

Art: 061/100 Themes - Fairy Tale

"Istoria." Fairy Tale. - 61/100 Themes.

Argh, this is the only one I haven't posted on time. But yes - this is how she started to like him in the first place, stupid stories.

Rivek sat at the side of the bed. He had changed out of his guards’ uniform. Without his bandages or boots, his sleep clothes revealed the scars that traced his hands and legs.

Willow climbed in amongst the emerald pillows and wrapped the blankets around herself, burying deep underneath until only her eyes showed over the tops of the covers.

“It’s spring, you don’t need that,” he clicked his tongue.

“Says the man who’s a living, breathing, energy-sucking icicle.” He reached out to touch her forehead, causing her to hide her face completely.

“Tell me a story,” she said, her voice muffled through the covers. “Like you did when we were kids. One of your Alisian fairy tales. But not one of those depressing ones where everyone gets placed under a curse and dies at the end.”

Rivek laughed. “That’s almost all of them.”

“Tell me the one where you got your name.”

“I think I can do that.” He walked into the other room and retrieved his journal before he climbed onto the downy mattress. He put his arm around her shoulder, and she yelped.

“Goddamn. Icicle,” she said, throwing the blanket over both of them.

He opened the book and thumbed through the pages with his free hand. "Once upon a time, the god of War went out to battle to a far away land."

“He sounds like an ass.”

“That he was. He had to leave his beautiful daughter, the Princess of Clouds, at home. After all, she was one of those skinny sorts who couldn't hold a sword. She had eyes the color of the sky and hair the color of ripe wheat.” He turned the page.

Willow tucked her hair behind her ears and reach over to flip back the page he had just turned.

“What’re you doing? You can’t read it.”

“I know, but the letters are pretty.” The Alisian script was Rivek’s neat handwriting, a collection of brushstroke swirls that had been invented four hundred years ago. It had been derived from the Common language as a way to obscure military documents, but it had long since evolved and blended with other languages to become its own system of writing.

"Anyway, with a girl that pretty, of course someone was going to try and steal her away. And an evil prince did. He came with his men and raided the tower and took this girl to his mountain home. You can imagine what he did there."

She yawned, “I thought I said nothing depressing.”

“You said no depressing endings. I haven’t reached the middle yet.” He flicked her ear. "Locked amongst the cliffs, the girl didn't know what to do. So she sang, hoping someone would hear her. And she cried rivers, upon rivers - that is, making the rivers that flowed down from the mountains. Grass grew in the valleys where her tears collected, and animals started appearing. These animals longed to see the face of their creator, so one day - one of them grew wings."

He made an idiotic bird gesture with his hands. "So, the eagle was born, and he flew to the tower.”

He looked down. Her breathing was soft and rhythmic, and her eyes were closed. “Well, you can kind of guess what happened next. Girl befriends eagle. Eagle eats evil warlord. Girl rides eagle back to her dad."

He combed her hair with his fingers. "And that's what my name means. 'Eagle'. Sort of. It's a conjugated form of the word, rivekron, which means 'to soar.' Technically, it's what the girl said as she told the eagle to fly away from the mountain hold."

He laughed softly and kissed her on the forehead as he got up to leave. “Why do you care that no one dies in the end if you’re just going to fall asleep halfway through?”


Art: 060/100 Themes - Rejection

"Envitalio." Rejection. - 060/100 Themes.

Three in a row where I'm just beating the crap out of Rivek. I'm a bad person.


Willow huddled with her stomach against the ground. She felt something soft grace her cheek. As the dust settled, she turned her head and saw barred, gray feathers. Gingerly, she lifted Rivek's wing off her shoulder and struggled to her knees. He collapsed on top of her, and she felt hot blood run down the front of her shirt. The ground crunched as she rolled him off and leaned his limp form against a broken pillar.

She looked at her chest, where she felt the blood. She was fine, just scrapes and bruises. She turned her attention to her newly hired bodyguard. From what she knew about his powers, maintaining his form halfway between man and bird was the most taxing ability he could use, and he had done it for her with no second thought. When he eyed the first fuse being lit, he brought her to the ground with superhuman speed and shielded her with his body, turning them into massive wings to increase his surface area. The avian limbs he'd protected her with shrank back into human flesh, scratched and bleeding from shards of glass and stone. His left sagged, and she could see the sundered collarbone peeking out from a wound by his neck.

He spoke softly, between short breaths, "Just. Doing. My job."  A thin, wood beam protruded from his chest. Black blood pooled around the opening, nibbling at the timber before running down his side. He muttered, "Fucking. Hurts."

She put her hand on his cheek and looked around as she ran it through his hair. She needed help. Her only experience with severe puncture wounds involved people who were already dead. The explosion had taken out much of the castle wall, flooding the room with rubble. People emerged from the dust, recovering from shock. An armored man threw a door off of himself so he could stand. A woman crawled out from under a table. She heard a moan.


Fenne lay a short distance away. His lower limbs had been crushed, trapped under a piece of ceiling. Blood slowly ran out from under the rock. He met her gaze, his eyes pleading and red dripped down his nose and into his mouth.

She turned to Rivek. He nodded in Fenne's direction. The wood moved up and down in time with his heaving chest as he muttered.

She met Fenne's gaze again, and her heart quickened. She could not attend to two fatal wounds at once. She looked around again in panic. A bevy of medical staff members, dressed in white and guarded by a squadron or soldier, ran into the room.

Rivek's skin had turned pale, and his lips were now blue, moving without sound. Willow hoped it was not some kind of final prayer. The color had gone from his eyes, from vibrant blue to lifeless gray. The group of nurses settled around Fenne, and he disappeared from view. No one else would do it. No one else could do it. When Rivek signed that contract, he became her responsibility alone and, if she helped anyone else, he would die.

She put his lips to his and breathed the threads of her magic into his collapsed lung. It seemed useless. She tried again, reaching deeper his time, past the trachea and into the tiny branches in the lungs. Her knees shook as the air rushed out of her body, pushing against the collapsed walls of the tissue. They moved. She gripped his torn clothes to steady herself as she exhaled once more into his body. The invading air in his chest cavity bubbled out through the wound, and the lung expanded to fill his ribcage again.

The wooden stake, finally burned through by the acid blood, clattered to the ground in two pieces. The now-open wound sputtered, the blood fighting and losing against the hastily forming tissue. As the hole closed up with a keloid scar, she felt him breath on his own again. She re-positioned his fractured clavicle and coaxed the shattered bone back together with a sewing motion. Cold sweat ran down her forehead. There would be more to attend to later, but the important part was taken care of. He swallowed the blood in his mouth, half a smile crawling onto his face. She ran her bloody fingers through his dark hair and rested her cheek against his neck. He would live.


Art: 059/100 Themes - No Way Out

"Ni Ebitus." No Exit. - 59/100 Themes.

In Mondigan, magic is the ability to manipulate the world around you through human thought and emotion. Although strength and aptitude is determined by genetics, the exact talent that manifests specializes depending on individual personality. For example, aggressive people will have literally, explosive powers.

There are two ways to manipulate the energy around you - by producing more or by absorbing what exists. The former is called 'light' and the latter is called 'dark' because of the similarities to actual light (darkness being the absorption or lack of light). Production and absorption of energy is usually a subtle, almost unnoticeable presence that increases in strength closer to that magician. That falloff is roughly quadratic, with more powerful magicians possessing a greater radius of influence.

However, as people tend to assign prejudices to things, light magic is heavily favored to the point of religious fanaticism - and dark magic is considered heresy. Traditionally, they are burned at the stake. However, there is a more severe punishment reserved for the most petulant criminals.

Only living beings (organic cells) contain consumable energy, so the most horrible way to kill a dark-mage is simply to lock him or her far enough away from other, living beings. Their black blood is the single bodily aspect that does the actual energy absorption. Tissue contains energy. So, the blood will eventually erode the tissue to extract its energy, effectively killing the mage by eating them from the inside out and reducing their body to a soup.

This is super not how Rivek wants to die.

Rivek could not tell if his eyes were open. It was so dark, closing them would not have made a difference. Light could not reach six feet under ground. The last thing he remembered was Sorian gloating in front of him - and being hit squarely in the back of the head. He gingerly touched his hairline at the back of his neck. It was sore. How long had he been here?

He knocked his fist against the roof of the coffin.


That was worrisome. It smelled like dirt and dead wood. He coughed. How long before he ran out of air? He needed to shift. A bird form would buy him time to think, conserve his energy. He tried to focus, and a few feathers sprouted at his wrists.

A cough broke his concentration, but this time it was wet and burning. His lungs felt heavy. He tasted iron and acid.

He heard a whining sound that faded into high-pitched ringing. He twisted his arm up to touch his ear lobe. Something wet. It trickled down the side of his skull. The trail it left behind stung.

He writhed. He felt something warm in his chest that slowly built to a fiery burn. Every heartbeat was just a minute shudder away from an explosion. What was happening? He counted his breaths, trying to keep them slow and shallow so he could think.

This was an execution.

His father once told him that dark mages needed to take energy from living things to survive. Unfortunately, when buried alive, the only living thing would be the mage themselves. Their insides would boil, and blood would leak from every possible opening, often carving its own exit wounds. When the bodies were exhumed, there would only be a skeleton floating in red soup. Bury them underground until their own demonic souls ate them alive. He would die alone, in the last place a bird would ever want to be, enclosed in a box with no sky above. Being burned at the stake now seemed comparatively humane.

He blinked away something wet and stinging from his eyes, and he knew it wasn't tears. The air began to smell like iron. No. Please, no. He whispered a prayer as the blood burned through the thin skin on his fingertips. He dragged them on the coffin lid, leaving a sizzling, black trail in their wake that he could smell but not see.


Art: 058/100 Themes - Kick to the Head

"Kiatro per kapo." - Kick to the head. - 58/100 Themes.

Rivek doesn't particularly enjoy when his breathing is cut off. Challenging pose is challenging.


Sorian pressed his foot against Rivek's trachea. "Next time, dog, you'll think again before you try to do something like that. Now run back to your master."


Art: 057/100 Themes - Sacrifice

"Zuplikon." Sacrifice. - 57/100 Themes.

Sometimes trying to be a good person means you'll end up doing bad things. Bohren sees being a knight as a route to manhood, but really it depends on what kind of person you serve.


For once, the throne room of Aneral was quiet. The Brennan Royal Guard which had protected the Auster family for generations had over a thousand men, but only the most trusted would be selected to attend to the crown prince. Fenne wanted this ceremony to be private. He thought it would be best to keep the identities of his personal bodyguards secret.

He stood and drew his sword. "Thank you, all of you. I am sure you understand why you are here today," he nodded. "Today, I am no longer a schoolboy but a true prince in my own right. You have all demonstrated your skills, but more importantly, you have demonstrated your loyalty. Therefore, I am going to reward you with the most elite, military position you can possibly obtain - my personal guard."

Bohren shifted in his military uniform. This should be an honor. This was the moment he had been waiting for his entire life. Yet all he could think about were his fingers. Even with his gloves on, they were so cold. He wrung them together to try and keep warm as Fenne called names of the other twenty men in the room. Each approached the throne in turn. Bohren knew many of these men. Although they differed in skill, they all came from the longest lines of Brennan nobility.

Fenne called his name. Bohren clutched his hands, walked down the center aisle and knelt at the prince's feet. Fenne touched the sword to his left shoulder. "Do you swear your allegiance to your kingdom?"

"In all trials, you highness," he nodded, repeating the same words the other men before him had said.

He touched the blade to his right shoulder. "Do you swear your first loyalty is to myself, your prince?"

"There is no other."

Finally, he let the tip of the weapon rest on the crown of Bohren's head. "Do you swear that, should the day arise, you will sacrifice all that you have and are for the state?"

"On my life." He forced a smile.

"Rise, Bohren, as Lord of Tabir, member of the Order of House Auster."

Bohren made the god's sign across his chest and joined the others in line.


Art: 056/100 Themes - Danger Ahead

"Danjere Ante." Danger ahead. - 56/100 Themes.

Kai is another character I have recycled for Mondigan. Kai is an arrogant, teenage seafarer. His father - a wealthy, Vestanzan merchant, abandoned him when he showed signs of dark magic in early puberty, and Mirab took pity on him. He is an integral portion to her becoming a more empathetic character. Oddly enough, he enters a relationship with and knocks up Perrin, Rivek's mentee. Perrin's father - who is a similar, single, formerly-teen father - is not very pleased with this, but it gives Kai the chance to grow up.


Kai ran to the prow of the Surgent and leaned his face into the wind. "Danger?" he laughed. "About time."


Art: 055/100 Themes - Waiting

"Dunministrar." Waiting. - 55/100 Themes.

I interpreted "waiting" in the restaurant sense.


Sorian leaned back in his chair. He wanted good news. Fighting those damned dark-mages was costing him a fortune in raw materials. As winter approached, the ground had begun to freeze, and ore had become more difficult to obtain. He huddled back into his cloak, bringing the fur collar up around his cheeks. He pressed his hands together as his confidant, Vendelain, approached. He carried a silver platter. Sorian smiled. He knew what this was, and it would make him very, very happy.

"Here is what you requested," Vendelain bowed, placing a cloth napkin on Sorian's lap before setting the tray on the arm of his throne. "A glass of red wine and the heart of Mitharon Ailinar."


Art: 054/100 Themes - Tower

"Turios." Tower - 54/100 Themes.

There is something incredibly gut-wrenching I enjoy watching in betrayal. And that characters should be presented with very hard choices. And chances to redeem themselves. They say at the end of a story, each character gets a 'reward' - or something as a result of their actions. Still don't know what to do with Fenne. He just fails so hard at the "standing up and being a man" thing (get it? standing up? oh, ho, ho, double entendre!)


Fenne enjoyed the contemplative quiet his tower room offered. The city sprawled below with people crawling like busy ants, but only bird song reached him here. He rubbed the scars left by the stitches from his amputation. Every so often, he felt as if his legs were still there. No longer able to tap his foot, he rapped his knuckles on the windowsill in time to the song stuck in his head. As he did, he heard a knock on the door. "Who is it?"

"It's me." Fenne's personal royal guard, Bohren opened the door and scratched his mop of blond hair. He bowed, "The Heilmdoran Prince wants a word with you before he heads out."

"I already told him I'm not interested." Fenne traced his fingers along the wood grain of his chair arms.

"He's got something for you." Bohren forced a smile, hoping to see his prince happy. "I think you'll like it."

Fenne folded his hands together. He trusted his knight's opinion, even if he was too optimistic at times. "Let him in, I guess."

Bohren exited and returned with a regal man in a thick, fur-lined cloak. He had a well-muscled build and light brown hair, cropped close to his skull that exposed his high forehead and aquiline nose. He met Fenne with his intense, orange eyes and bowed. "Your highness," he said, holding out a long, heavy, object wrapped in ordinary sack cloth.

Fenne frowned, "What is this? You had better not be mocking me."

"I would like to clarify that there are no hard feelings between my domain and yours due to our mutual interactions with the Tyrisi. Therefore, I have brought you a gift."

He gently laid the package on the floor and knelt to gingerly unwrap each corner of the cloth Fenne's breath caught in his throat as he gazed at the beauty Sorian had unveiled. A functional, mechanical leg. The bent steel bars replicated bone, and the copper wire mimicked the graceful flex of muscle. Sorian had replicated, the knee, ankle, and even toe joints with tiny hinges and gears, reinforced by outer plates of iron.

"I should hope that you would forgive my obtaining your measurements from your seamstress. I simply desired that my design fit your body perfectly. I did not mean to commit an intrusion on your privacy." He stood, letting Fenne view the construction in its entire, burnished glory. "If you sign with me and back my position against those Tyrisi traitors, I will give you the twin to this creation and return for a proper, personal fitting."

He gave one final bow and headed out the door. Fenne returned his attention to the window, but he could not shake his nagging curiosity. Once he heard Sorian descend the tower stairs, he shifted his eyes back onto the steel prosthetic on the floor. "Bohren," he called. "I need your help."


Art: 053/100 Themes - Keeping a Secret

"Pozesir zekreta." Keeping a secret. - 053/100 Themes.

Best first date ever. ;D


Rivek leaned his head back, but it only caused the blood to drain down the back of his throat. It tasted sour. He turned and spat into the fountain before pinching the bridge of his nose.

Willow grabbed his jaw, so she could hold him still and get a better look at the damage. She wet the rag she clutched and wiped off the blood that had begun to dry on his upper lip. As her fingers graced his skin, she could see the networks of his broken blood vessels lighting up with her magic. Quickly, they darkened, absorbing her energy. She blinked. This had never happened before. She touched them again, and again her magic faded into his body.

"Can you fix it?" he asked. His ears rang, and his stuffy voice felt far away.

"I'm trying - I don't know what's wrong." She threw out her threads once more. This time, she had to forcibly pushed them forward through his bloodstream, constantly reinforcing them with more magic from her core. Her hands shook a little, and sweat beaded on her palms and forehead. As her energy passed through, the burst vessels repaired themselves. She drove her threads deeper, through the soft skin and flesh, to his skull. She ran them along its surface, searching for any irregularity. A wide fracture ran across his nose bridge.

She moved his hand away from his face. "Don't touch it - it's broken."

He smirked and replied with a nasal, "You're telling me."

She placed either hand on the side of his nose and with a crunch, set it back to place. He howled and pushed her hands away.

"You, sir, are a terrible patient. Stay off it, and let it heal." She looked at her work in the moonlight. Even in the dark, she could tell this was sub-par to any healing she had ever done before. She sent another barrage of magic through his sinuses, but she was too tired to reinforce it. It dissipated like her first and left her short of breath. The bone and tissue repair was still shoddy, rough around the edges.

"This is going to bruise tomorrow morning. Keep something cold on it, to keep the swelling down."

He sat on his hands to keep from touching his face. "Is it going to hurt like a bitch? The same way it's doing now?"

"Don't say 'bitch'!" She set her arms in her lap and broke eye contact. "Probably."

He shrugged. "Don't worry about it. We'll just say I fell off a horse."

"I'd believe that. You're an awful rider." She stifled laughed with her now bloody hands. She rinsed them in the fountain.

He washed his hands as well and stood up to wipe them on his pants. "Let's go," he motioned. "It's harder to sneak back into a castle when people are awake."

Willow stifled a gasp as he put his arm around her shoulder. She was glad it was dark out, or he would have seen her blush. "That was a really nice thing you did - standing up for me."

"Don't worry about it."

She ran her fingers nervously through the ends of her braided hair and bit her lip. "You're not going to tell anyone that I asked you to sneak me out of the palace, right?"

"As long as you don't tell anybody that I travel with thieves - but more importantly - that I can count cards." He winked but quickly regretted having ever moved the muscles on his face. With something halfway between a smile and a wince, he whispered, "This is our little secret."


Art: 052/100 Themes - Deep in Thought

"Sundum kognia." Deep in Thought. - 52/100 Themes.

A "new" character, Eamon. You can see his original (heavily D. Grayman-inspired) incarnation here: http://fav.me/d1czxwo

Now, he is the lab technician in the research lab that Rivek and Willow worked in during high school. He crashes in his work clothes, naps under his desk, and drinks caffeine to relax. He has some light-magic in him that gives him super-human intelligence. Having been a screw-up before, he is as religious as scientific.

He messed up as a teenager and became father. Unable to deal with having a child, the mother ran. Now, his whole life revolves around his daughter, Perrin. And despite her age, she ends up picking up after his eccentricities a lot. When his daughter begins to exhibit signs of dark-magic, he first denies the signs, but eventually outright questions his faith. Fenne begins to genocide dark-mages, and he chooses to do what's best for his daughter - seeks refugee status with Willow. Once on her side, he uses his technical knowledge to backwards engineer Sorian's technomagic designs and comes to terms with his faith - that you can be devout and progressive at the same time.  

More in this Series: http://fongmingyun.deviantart.com/gallery/281196


Eamon brushed the thick, auburn hair from his eyes. Magic was fickle as human emotion, but he was sure it could be quantified and harnessed. You could treat it like a volume of water, calculating and controlling the speed of its flow to get one's desired result. After all, Sorian had managed it somehow.

He stared at the bull's carcass on the table. It contained as much metal as it did rotting flesh. Magic had allowed Sorian to turn a living animal into a technological war machine. Now it was Eamon's job to figure out how to stop them.

He had been writing for hours. His chalkboard was riddled with equations. He always arrived at the same answer, but it was not possible. Those resources could not be obtained. They simply did not exist anymore.

He looked over at Rivek. The dark-mage had come to the lab to watch Eamon dismantle the beast that had gored him. He leaned back in his chair, conversing with his bird. To Eamon, it seemed like a very one-sided conversation, but it seemed to be making sense to them. A soldier by nature, Rivek was not well-versed in the sciences by any means, but Eamon knew he had a head for arithmetic. He had learned this the hard way. Rivek frequently used his mathematical intellect to sweep card games.

"Do you mind looking this over?" Eamon asked, handing Rivek his notebook. The bird walked up to Rivek's shoulder as he took the pad in his hand.

He looked over the chalk board and picked up a quill. Step by step, he re-did the calculations on his paper. He circled his answer - it was the exact same. "You might want to graph is more precisely to be sure but... The only way to zero out this equation would be to use its inverse. You have the answer, Eamon. It's staring you in the face. You just don't want to believe it. To make this work, you're going to need dark-magic."


Art: 051/100 Themes - Sport

"Oludum". Sport - 51/100 Themes.

Even fantasy schools have field days.

At heart, Bohren is a swordsman, so he never does too well at the joust. Even he doesn't have the upper-body strength to handle a lance for too long (or being hit in the chest with one), and his aim is too terrible for ring jousting. Even so, he tries because he thinks it's the most impressive sport, and he gets to wear some cool armor while riding a horse.

Usually forgotten or disfavored due to his unassuming behavior in class, Rivek is a dark horse who blazes through archery tournaments. He easily nets first in most tournaments he enrolls in thanks to his avian powers and hunting practice. Not that he would listen to rules, but even if instructed to use his normal eyesight, he can't reign his body in to that level. Archery is probably the only profitable activity Rivek does that isn't morally questionable.  

More in this Series: http://fongmingyun.deviantart.com/gallery/281196


Rivek sat behind the empty stands, eating a pork bun from one hand and jingling a pouch of coins in the other. His snack was dry and a bit too salty, but he had already paid for it. His unstrung bow and other archery equipment lay on the ground next to him, arranged in a neat grid.

Bohren approached his friend. He still wore his breastplate and carried his helmet under his arm. His thick, blond hair was matted with sweat and taken on the rounded shape of his headgear. He reached out an armored hand to grab the remaining bread but Rivek shoved the entire thing in his mouth.

Bohren frowned, "So - how did you do?"

Rivek took his time chewing before he swallowed to speak. Bohren gritted his teeth. The archer smirked, holding up the bag of coins. "I don't know. You tell me. Well enough?"

"You're a cheat. The rules say no magic."

"I'm offended you think I'm a cheat!" His blue eyes briefly flashed to an avian gold. "I'm just naturally talented. And you? Manage to win anything?"

"Does two broken lances count?"

"Your incompetence is astounding." Rivek laughed. It was cut short by his growling stomach. After shooting all day in the heat, that pork bun hadn't nearly been satisfying enough. "Dinner?"

Bohren jabbed Rivek in the abdomen. "You're buying."


Art: 050/100 Themes - Breaking the Rules

"Shundar regelum." Breaking the Rules. - 50/100 Themes.

I can't believe it! I started this project two years ago, and now I am halfway though. This is a landmark. I'm really happy.

Under Willow's pressuring, Rivek sneaks her out of the castle, dressed like a boy. This is what we call a "character midpoint"...


"Haven't you ever been outside a castle before? You're seem new at this rule-breaking thing." Rivek handed Willow a pile of folded clothing. "Put these on."

She looked through the individual articles. They were commoner clothes, a simply design boy's outfit with dull colors and many holes. However, most importantly, they bore no palace markings.

"What? They're clean."

She picked up the shirt, stretching it out at her arms' width. "They're kind of big, aren't they?"

"Well, you're kind of small."

She threaded her hands through the cotton sleeves and narrowed her eyes.

He sat down at his desk, waiting. He knew girls could take an awful long time when getting ready, but he had told her not to wear make-up. He hoped that would at least cut the time in half.

She waved her hand. He gave her a confused look in response.

"Oh, wait. Right." He turned his chair around, making an exaggerated gesture to show he was most definitely covering his eyes.

Just in case he was watching, she slipped the garment over her head before unbuttoning her uniform. It took substatial flexibility to remove her everyday shirt, but Rivek's gave her plenty of room to maneuver. She let her clothes drop to the ground before sliding her arms through the sleeves of her new top. On Rivek, the cuffs fell just past his shoulders, but, on her, they reached her elbows. She threw his vest on top, and it ended at her hips, close enough to be a dress in its own right.

"Done yet?" he started to turn back around.

"No!" she picked up her discarded shirt and threw it at his head. He immediately returned to face the wall, throwing his hands into the air before covering his face again.

As carefully as before, she put the pants on under her skirt before removing her own clothes. They itched a little, and the crotch fell uncomfortably low, almost halfway down her thighs. When she let go of the waist, they drooped to her knees, and she scrambled to pick them back up again. "This isn't going to work."

He turned around. Willow stood with his pants hiked around her waist. He could not help but laugh. He stifled his mirth and got up to dig through his dresser. He produced a wide belt. "Nope, won't work at all, but maybe this will. It's Bohren's, but he won't mind."

Willow sat down on the bed to keep the pants from falling down mid-fastening and tied the belt around her waist. "All right, let's go."

He tilted his head to the side and looked her up and down. "I don't think so." He went back to the dresser and emerged with a gray cap. He threw it in her direction, and it landed at her feet.

She picked it up off the floor and put it on her head. "Done now?"

He motioned for her to tuck her hair under it.

"You're going to make me look like a boy." She knotted her long, chestnut braid into a spiral and tugged the cap squarely over it.

"That's kind of the plan. So, that -" He pointed to her chest. "-is going to be a problem." The unbuttoned collar hung just above Willow's petite cleavage. She immediately folded her arms to cover it, blushing.

He laughed again. "So I guess you don't just need my old clothes. You'll also need my sporting equipment. Here." He handed her a fat roll of bandage and turned around again. "Tie them down. I won't look."

She undid the belt and took her top off, keeping a watchful eye on Rivek. Next, she removed her bra and stuffed it under her discarded clothes. She covered her nipples as she passed the first end of the bandage under her arm. Wrapping the strip around her body was more difficult than she had expected, and the loops she made were diagonal and uneven. Nevertheless, she figured it would do. She clipped the ends down and tucked in the edges. Her chest felt tight, so she adjusted her breathing as she put the other clothes back on. "You can turn around now."

He sized her up one last time. "Almost," he touched his earlobe. "You forgot something."

It took her a few seconds to recognize what he meant. "Oh!" She took the gold backings out, and let the emerald drops fall into her palms.

Rivek extended his hand.

"How do I know you'll give them back?" She closed her hands into a fist. "For all I know, you're going to run off and sell them!"

"Looks like you're just going to have to trust me. But," He shrugged. "To put things into perspective - since you're already trusting me to guide you into a figurative thieves' den, then the earrings aren't such a big issue, are they?"

Resentfully, she opened her hand. He took the jewelry and dropped it into his dress shoe under his desk.

"That's disgusting."

"Come on. I haven't used them in months. And trust me - no one will find them there." He approached the door and held it open for her with a bow. "Milady."

She walked up to the exit. But right before she stepped over the threshold, he let the door slam shut. The hinges reverberated from the loud crack.

He winked. "Get used to it. Where we're going, that doesn't happen."

She glared at him. Then, she pushed the door open herself and stepped into the hallway.


Art: 049/100 Themes - Stripes

"Virtigen." Stripes. - 49/100 Themes.

Just Rivek and Willow being cute. He's still trying to adjust to his servitude. Good thing Will is a nice boss. For the record, Rivek is 5'11", and Willow is 5'4".


Willow grabbed Rivek's wrist and moved behind him, stepping on her tiptoes, so she could reach his shoulder. She pulled a handkerchief from her pocket. It was covered in green and gold stripes. She tied it to his arm, around his tattoo, and kissed his cheek, "There, that's how they'll know you're mine."


Art: 048/100 Themes - Childhood

"Enfantea." Childhood. - 48/100 Themes.

Rivek's mother, step-father, and step-brother all die in a yet-to-be-determined accident. So Rivek does what any person who wants to save his own hide does - assumes his dead brother's identity. Because he is clearly too young to govern Cordelain, the lands are put under a steward, and he is sent to live with his step-father's cousin - who happens to be Bohren's father. Bohren, a spoiled only child, resents this at first, but the incident above warms him towards the intruder. When he finds out Rivek is illiterate, he teaches him to read. Thus, an epic bromance was formed.


Summer was the best. Bohren stood at the foot of an immense apple tree. He knew they were still unripe and very sour, but at eleven years old, the climbing itself was fun enough.

He grabbed the lowest branch and lifted his legs into the air for a little swing. He planted his feet against the sturdy trunk. Gingerly, he walked his hands to the base of the branch until he could wrap his entire body around the width of the tree. Using the knots in the bark as footholds, he stretched himself upwards. The first place the trunk split was low enough that he could reach it with his hands. With a small kick, he hoisted himself up into the forked limbs. 

He sat for a second in this great tree-seat, surrounded by green leaves. "Hello," he said to the nearest branch. "Nice to meet you."

He took a twig and shook it like an extended arm. "I'm sure you've heard of me. I am Sir Bohren from Tabir, and my father is the High Grand Super Lord of Tabir. And one day, I'm going to be like my dad, and I'm going to be a knight with armor covered in so many diamonds, you'll look at it, and you'll go blind. And I'm going to slay a dragon and rescue a beautiful princess with lots of yellow hair who will fall in love with me."

He stood, carefully balancing each of his legs on a branch, and bowed. It threw him off, and he quickly shrank back to seated position. Once he thought he was safe from his own teetering, he looked up. The apples had started to grow. This one right above him looked a little kind of red. 

He stood again and reached his arm up. He plucked the only apple within his grasp. His mouth watered, imagining the delicious sugar and juice. Without hesitation, he bit into it, and his mouth was flooded with a sour taste so strong it made him suck in his cheeks. He spat out the wood-hard piece he had bit off and threw the rest to the ground. Gross. 

What now? He looked down from his mighty perch and saw something a few rows of trees away: a skinny boy with messy, black hair. He wore peasant's clothes that were far too big for him. The shirt he had fell to his knees. He held his arms extended towards the sky. A dozen brown sparrows sat on his outstretched limbs, tittering and flapping their wings like excited schoolgirls. 

"Hey. Hey! You! You're the new kid, right? Better move. They're going to poop on you." 

The black-haired boy looked up, right at Bohren. He dropped his arms, and the sparrows flew away in a chirping flurry. Even from this height and distance, Bohren could make out a strange shape on the boy's right cheek.

"Yeah, you! Come here." The strange boy stepped over slowly. 

"Come on." Why did he take so long just to walk over? Bohren flattened his stomach against a branch. They were deep, crossed, purple scars - one vertically down his right eye, and one horizontally across his cheekbone. So weird. Bohren leaned over to get a better look.

"What's wrong with your face?"

And Bohren fell.

He hit the ground on his left arm. Something cracked. He tried to get up, but the pain was unbearable. It was as if his entire arm were a pulsing, muscular fire. He cried.

Silently, the other boy turned and took a step away.

"You're can't leave me here!" 

The scarred boy took a knife from his pocket and snapped a twig from the low branch Bohren had been climbing on. Then, he made a spiraling cut into the edge of his shirt, turning the bottom hem into a long ribbon.

Then, he came back. He grabbed Bohren's arm, making him scream again and causing tears to roll down his face. Bohren rubbed his sniffling nose with his good arm. He put his arm back down, and a trail of clear mucous extended between his upper lip and sleeve.

"Hey!" he muttered. "That hurts." 

The boy set the branch against Bohren's arm and began wrapping it there with the ripped piece of shirt.

"Can you talk?" 

The boy narrowed his strangely bright, blue eyes and shrugged, but he continued to tie the makeshift splint around Bohren's arm. Bohren watched, tears almost lost in wonder at the bandaging process. Much to Bohren's pained chagrin, the boy finished by bending and tying the fractured arm to Bohren's chest. Bohren yelped as he tied the last knot, very, very tight. The boy gave him a small smirk. 

Did he think this was funny? "Your name. Give me your name." 



Art: 047/100 Themes - Creation

"Kreonum." Creation. - 47/100 Themes.
Sorian's secret weapon - war beasts driven by magic.

Sorian walked through the warehouse with the Historian trailing a few respectful steps behind him. The building used to be a manor house, but the stables were now barracks, and the spitfires were now forges. He glanced around, looking for idle bodies. When they caught his eyes, they hurried back to work, shoveling coal and shaping sheets of steel. He marked their numbers off in the journal he carried, so he could remember whose salary might need adjustment.

They reached the back door. A priest, dressed in white, stood next to it, waiting for them. He bowed, "Your highness."

"You reported that you have something to show me?"

"Yes, my liege," the priest said, bowing again to open the door. "I hope you will be pleased."

He stood in front of his creation, eyes darting between the design drawing in his journal and his living, breathing prototype. Here was his beast of flesh and metal. Merely days before, this creature had been a simple, dumb, war horse who had been too stubborn to ride. Now, it was an armored, deadly, force. Its blood vessels and muscle sinew were replaced by and intertwined with wire. Its skin had been plated over with much harder iron. The little spaces between the mechanical joints crackled with the magic that kept it alive. Sorian knew that somewhere, underneath, there would be a beating heart. It lowered its head to him, releasing a jet of warm condenstation through two flickering nostril vents. Sorian stared into where its eyes would have been. They had been replaced by two, unblinking, glass lenses with steel shutters. A stream of saliva dripped from its sharpened teeth and froze when it hit the ground.

It stood sturdy as he mounted it with ease. Part machine and part animal, its spirit had long been completely shattered. He ran his hands along the smooth, metal laid across its spine. He played with the tubes in its neck, magically-reinforced replacements for arteries. He willed it forward, and it responded to his touch on its wired body. He placed his hand against its thick neck, and as his internal command, it reared backward. He clung to the mass of tubes, holding tightly as it set its forelegs back on the ground. They came down with enough weight and force that they pierced through the layers of soft snow, cracked the permanent layer of tundra ice, and exposed the solid, red, rock underneath.

Sorian grinned and opened to another page in his book. "How much steel remains?"

"Not much, sire."

"Then, get more."

He snapped the book shut. "Take it, if you have to. We need hundreds of these."


Art: 046/100 Themes - Family

"Sangnomion." Family. - 46/100 Themes.

The word for "family" in Alisian translates directly to "the name of the blood".


"Trust me," Verendiel said as closed the door to Willow's room. "You will like this man. He is wealthy, well-educated, well-bred from the most noble Tyrisi lineage, and most importantly, one of us." 

"A doctor?" 

"Not just a doctor. A white-magic healer. With generations of documented white-magic healers before him." Willow hoped he wasn't some distant cousin she had just not yet heard of. 

Verendiel brought forth a dress made of green velvet, hemmed with gold embroidery. It looked thick and heavy. Just from looking at it, Willow could tell the skirt would be too long, with too many layers that would balloon up around her as she walked. 

She climbed into the dress as if she were climbing into a great mushroom made of fabric. Great, she thought. Ninety percent chance I'll trip on something. Ninety-nine percent chance I'll trip over myself. 

Verendiel hiked the skirt up around Willow's waist and pulled her arms through the sleeves. "You never say anything good about the boys I pick for you. I do not know why." 

She tightened Willow's corset, forcing a wheeze from her unprepared chest. "I know you love me, but you certainly have a very funny of way of showing it. You should not be so ungrateful. Every time, I go through so much trouble of finding you a worthwhile suitor." 

She stepped around to Willow's front and began powdering her face. Willow tried not to sneeze. "You were such a tom boy when you were little. You worried me so much, following your brother around. I thought sending you away for school would fix that. The prospects became far better when you came home. But they dwindle every time you turn another one away." 

"You are making this very hard on me." She painted Willow's eyes and lips with brown and pink creams. "I do all this searching because I love you. So you don't even have to lift a finger." 

Verendiel stepped back, admiring her work. Willow thought she must look like a clown, or a doll that some small child with no concept of color drew on. "I know what it is. You must really stop letting that black-blood follow you. Queens do not have time to keep pets. It's frivolous and reflects poorly on our court." 

She set a golden circlet upon her daughter's head. "I love you, but it's time that you grow up and consider what is good for our family. With your brother gone, you are our only investment. If that black dog continues to hang around you like that, real, more-suitable men will never see you as a potential wife."

"Mother, he's my friend." 

"You can find better friends."


Art: 045/100 Themes - Illusion

"Ilujia." Illusion. - 45/100 Themes.

I suck at writing flirting, but I admit, Rivek is a bit of a pervy dick.

Rosmyne is a re-work of an old character who used to be Willow's room-mate (and Rivek's ex) in high school. Now, she is a former servant girl with a penchant for money. She is the kind of woman who hops from man to man to achieve her goals.

As a teenager, she slept with Rivek because she thought he would marry her and give her noble title (no one else was troubled or rebellious enough to sleep with servants). When his title is stripped away, she is coincidentally ruined. As an already "lesser" person who is no longer a virgin, she has lost her social value.

She continues to work at the castle behind the scenes, hidden in shame, until she serves dinner to a handsome prince from the north. Empathetic to her drive for self-worth, Sorian sees value in her still. He tells her he can give her back everything she lost. He buys her, and she willingly undergoes his experimentation. It gives her magic ability to manipulate others' thoughts and dreams through touch.

Slowly, she falls in love with him and the possible royal title he could provide, but he is too wrapped-up in his own quest for power. Both Sorian and Rosmyne are people who define their internal value by rewards from external sources.

At first, I was iffy on re-purposing Rosmyne due to possible "sexploitation," but I think her addition actually rounds out my female cast. Each balances power and gender differently: Willowren has tons of power, but her culture's expectations of women restrict the ways she can express it to traditionally feminine paths. Mirab expresses her inherent power through masculine means. Perrin is born with very little, so she joins the male-dominated military to achieve status. Rosmyne exploits her feminine nature to climb the social ladder.

Specifically, I want Perrin and Rosmyne to serve as contrasts to one another. Perrin is forward - to the point of bullheadedness - in achieving her dreams. Rosmyne is manipulative and uses others to get what she wants.

Also - Rivek verbally denies it, but he highly values his relationship with Willow. So, since Alisian culture treats men and women as military equals, Rivek has no qualms about beating the crap out of a girl who threatens it.


Rivek wandered through the dark corridor. The mage-lights had been extinguished much earlier, so only moonlight guided his passage. He ran his hand along the wall to avoid walking into potentially painful objects. Most of the castle's inhabitants would be asleep by now. He thought he would be as well. He did not understand what kept him awake.

The warm, night air blew in through the marble archways and licked at his bare skin. Given the late hour and lingering summer swelter, he had not bothered to find a shirt. He paused as his hand slid over a familiar carved handle, the door to the great hall. The vaulted ceilings seemed like a much better alternative to the confined corridor.  He had to throw most of his weight into it, but he managed to create enough of a opening to slide sideways in.

Blue light streamed in through the stained glass windows, casting hues that turned the white ground into an ocean floor. As he looked up from the patterns on the tile, his eye caught the glimmering, gold, hem of a piece of cloth. In light, it would have been rich crimson, but the night transformed its shadows into a deep violet. A woman sat in the throne at the front of the room, swathed by this mass of red silk, gazing at the moon. Noticing his entrance, she stood. The cloth fell from her shoulders, revealing her pale skin. She wore nothing.

He laughed. "Willow. I'm not going to lie, but this is pretty odd."

She smiled. "Come here."

He obeyed, stopping at the foot of the throne's platform. "I thought you'd be in bed. As in, I expected you to be in bed until noon tomorrow."

She laughed, and it echoed like bells off the stone walls. She moved closer, leaving only a few inches between their bodies. "Same as you, I couldn't sleep."

"Maybe you should try again." He smirked, doing a poor job of keeping his eyes and hands off her exposed breasts. "Not that you'd get lost in your own house, but if you need someone to take you back to your quarters - well, 'escort' is in my job description."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and left a quick peck where the two scars crossed on his cheek. "Not to dismiss your acts of chivalry, but, no, I'm going to stay here, thank you. It's a nice enough night, isn't it?"

He wrapped one hand around her waist and used the other to brush her long hair out of his face. "You're going to sit naked for an undetermined period of time in a public place that will be quickly populated in a few hours. Good plan."

"That's not what I mean." She threw him a fake, angry glance and pushed him back playfully. He went along with the act and dropped to his knees.

"Then what do you mean?"

"I simply mean I don't want to go back to my room."

He nodded and rolled his eyes, "That seems like kind of a dumb thing to want."

She knelt to meet him and began playing with his dark hair. She ran her hands down his bare abdomen, tracing the scars that ran down it. She paused, just under his navel, before letting her fingers snake slowly downwards again. He tensed.

"Well, since you've been nice enough to let me have what I want," she bowed her head and looked up to meet his eyes, "I can give you what you so desperately want."

With one quick breath, she pressed her lips to his and slipped her tongue between his teeth.

It tasted like iron, ash, and saltpeter. Quickly, he broke the kiss and bit his tongue. He wanted to wash out his mouth. Even his own blood would have tasted better. He spat onto the ground, narrowed his eyes, and wiped his lips.

Cupping his hand around her fair cheek, he leaned in and whispered into her ear, "No, I'm afraid, you can't. Because this is a dream. An illusion. And when I wake up, I am going to make you regret this. Because - sorry, love - but birds like me mate for life."

He nodded toward the silken cloth spread on the floor. "By the way, Rosmyne, her favorite color is green."


Art: 044/100 Themes - Two Roads

"Dai piea." Two Roads. - 44/100 Themes.


"Willowren, you have two very different men in your life who are going to take you down two very different roads - which lead to two very different places, for you and your kingdom. Make sure you pick the right one."


Art: 043/100 Themes - Dying

"Mortaran." Dying. - 43/100 Themes.

Mitharon Ailinar is a very regal man whose actions are steeped in religious tradition. The leader of his tribe, he is very focused on protecting his people and making sure his daughter will be a similarly capable leader. He also wants to connect with and apologize to his son, whom he hasn't seen in fifteen years.

Mirab was very close to her father. However, unlike her father, her half-blood heritage has made her very aware of the prejudices her people face, and she rejects anything that might possibly conflict with her Alisian side - especially helping a country that took part in the genocide of their people four hundred years earlier. It was only her father's desire for a better future that gave her reason enough to provide her prodigal brother with mercenary aid.

As second-born, Rivek does not have the same leadership pressures as his sister. When the relationship with his father is re-kindled, he is unsure where he stands in Alisian society. But seeing his father sacrifice his life to make others' better paves the way for him to make the same sacrifice later.


Mirab brought over the last bushel of wood and looked at her brother. Rivek shivered, huddling beneath the wool cloak around his shoulders. Even with the cover, visible goosebumps formed on his skin. 

She grabbed the sheet and threw it to the floor. "You will show some respect. This man is our father. Nothing up your sleeves. Braving the cold will make you grow stronger." 

Rivek hunched over and ran his freezing hands up and down his bare arms. Custom meant wearing nothing, not even the bandages he normally wrapped around his wrists to hide his scars. "Dad has been saying that since we were little." 

Mirab ignored her brother's remarks and stared at the black tattoo on his shoulder. Despite his modifications, it was still a brand, labeling him as a heretic and practicioner of evil magic. And she couldn't stand it. 

"Respect?" he said, covering the six-pointed star. The ink he'd added, an Alisian prayer, still trailed out from under his fingers. 

She turned, wordlessly, and took a flint from her belt. She picked up a thick rod of cedar from the pile of wood and lit its end, letting it burn until the smoke began to carry its fragrance. As much as she did not want to, she approached the funeral pyre before her. The man on top who had towered over her in her childhood seemed so small amongst the tangle of dry branches. As the eldest, this was her responsibility. She gave her father's pale face one last glance before lifting the linen over his head. She slowly ran the torch around the edge of the pyre, letting it light. She reached over the growing flame and placed the torch on his breast. The linen caught fire immediately. Now, his people had become her people and her responsibility as well. 

She made the sign of the Lady of Death across her chest. "Argia dena pilio. E leva ei senta ni pienara. Em korvi redukta ta tarri en zinera." 

He brother recited the same ancient prayer in common tongue, "Wrath begets Pardon. I depart and feel no pain. My body returns to the earth in ashes." 

They stood by the burning mountain until both shivered, and every bit of smoke had blown away into the night sky.