I recently came across the art of Keith Thompson, and it’s just incredible. I especially love his undead and robots. I feel like every single one of those drawings and descriptions is worth an entire story in themselves. My absolute favorites are below. If you like them, go check out his site. It’s full of awesome artwork.
High priest and prime demagogue of a people displaced and driven into inhospitable salt plains. Disease and famine poised to kill the tribes to a man when their high priest declared that he would go alone into the salt flats, commune with the heavens, and return with the answer to their salvation. Days later, when his desiccated form reappeared on the horizon he announced the discovery of a divine solution to their plight. He appealed to the medicine men to conduct a drastic form of trepanation on him. A large hole was cut into the top of his skull as his third eye with which he would commune with the heavens. After a day and night of mantras a holy pillar of light descended from the sky into the priest’s pate and burst forth from his face, removing much of it in the process. This beam of light acted as a guide to lead his people to a land of plenty. Once safe and settled, the priest announced that he was leaving, much to the lamentation of the saved tribes. It was blasphemy for him to dwell amongst them any further, he explained, for he had died on the first night he ventured forth into the flats to find his answer.
Madame Theodosia hearkens from the Aeolian islands and is part of a long lineage of necromancers. Growing up in a family with a long tradition of raising the dead, she was uncharacteristically shaken to learn of her barrenness, and in a rather emotional state vowed to give birth, if not to a new life, then to an already passed life. For this purpose she had found assistance in fashioning a steel, pressurised womb in which the souls of the freshly dead were to be trapped and condensed. This gestating entity came to be referred to in hushed tones as The Collect. The expectant mother now unnerves her followers with a detached resignation towards her eventual agonizing death; a necessity to feed her newborn babe in a self-sacrificial fashion akin to a mother spider.
Commissioned long ago by the 7th Tokugawa, a great patron of Karakuri design during the Edo period. Used to entertain guests with its charming grace as it carefully presents its hosts with tea, the Karakuri has also been used sparingly in Noh theatre, much to the shock of the audience when they discover the true nature of a seemingly masked actor.
-Tea for the host and his guest is presented on a laquered tray.
-Tanned skin tubing delivers the compressed air from the main pumps.
-Two pneumatic pumps function as the Karakuri’s prime source of locomotive power.
-Large laquer box contains the cogs and switching boxes that control all the air tubes that lead to the Karakuri.
-Shinto charms are affixed to the engine box, and are said to help instill the Karakuri with a soul.