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Shall Teclex
05-25-2014, 11:05 PM
I'm still a newbie in the Guild, but I was truly inspired by this month's challenge!

I must admit: I have a soft spot for strange, non-human cultures, and this is something I always wanted to do – „mapping like a dragon“ :)


### Latest WIP ###

Domino44
05-25-2014, 11:24 PM
It looks great already! I would love to hear a little more backstory of this and know what the inspiration is behind it.

madcowchef
05-26-2014, 12:07 AM
Excellent, nicely criptic, which seems good for something that doesn't think like we do.

Shall Teclex
05-26-2014, 12:13 AM
This is my first digital mosaic, so I'm open to any technical or artistic suggestions...

I prefer drawing vector objects in Adobe Illustrator and then do the coloring in Photoshop, but I made this one completely in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Sure, dragons can't use precise tools and delicate materials for mapping, but if I was a dragon :), I would use stone, gems, glass and ceramics (fire breath + sand/ soil) to build my map. And it would be really large, something that can be seen from the orbit ;-)

But why would dragons need a map at all? What if they don't want just to map a territory, but to describe their history... So, this map tells a story. I'm still writing a legend for the map (uhm... more of a short story), and I will post it here tomorrow, I hope....

Shall Teclex
05-31-2014, 05:23 PM
We Remember


We are dying. The Great Mother slumbers, and the Small Father is no longer capable of reproducing. Without his seed, our offspring have no mind. They inherit wings from the Sky Father and fiery spirit from the Fire Father; but they are just beasts, deprived of insight, much like the featherwings.

The Ancient One was complete. He-she traversed windless space in the egg, alone, to find a new world. Here, in brisk air, he-she hatched. When the Ancient One arose from the shell, flapping his-her wings, lifting fast, the winds complied, and a grand cyclone formed; the egg became the axis of our world, the eye of all winds. At last, being mother and all fathers in one, he-she produced offspring from a single body.

But they were born flawed. Not one of them was he-she, nor was complete. In order to reproduce, they had to combine: the eldest laid her eggs, and thus became the Great Mother; the second contributed to bones and muscles for flight, so he came to be our Sky Father; heritage of the third was burning breath, hence we named him the Fire Father; and the youngest, wingless and spiritless, bestowed on us his awareness and sapience. We call him the Small Father, but his patrimony is the reason why we know who we are. Because of him, we remember.

It is essential to remember. For ages we knew how to recognize new mothers and fathers among us, so we could send them to found new lairs. We taught our offspring when the flocks of featherwings pass on a salty breeze, and how to hunt them. We had many lairs, a lot of food, and plenty of memories to share. We revered the Ancient One, who was still gliding on the gale above us, for choosing the new world so wisely.

Nowadays we don't even visit his-her bones, for they lie in the lost trades, where a deadly squamish blows.

The world began to change after the dissimilars arrived. At first, we were curious about them – they also crossed space and had insightful minds. Watching them struggle to build their lairs and protect their offspring without wings, claws or fire breath, we came to admire them. We had no wish to hunt them as we did the featherwings.

The dissimilars prayed on featherwings, too. We didn't mind – the flocks were large, with countless eggs and nestlings. Then the dissimilars set about doing something we were not able to comprehend: they started to gather the featherwings alive; they were keeping the creatures safe and fed, waiting for them to produce more eggs. That way the dissimilars sustained themselves even without hunting.

With abundance of food, their lairs expanded. But, with a growing number of featherwings being captured or killed by the dissimilars, our lairs began to starve.

That is when the Ancient One decided to come down from the winds to convey them our worries. We all composed signs in the message, and he-she headed, with the icon in the claws, for the greatest lair of the dissimilars.

But we didn't understand that their minds were different.

When they saw the Ancient One approaching, they raised a thunderstorm. Only it was not assembled of wind and sand; it was charged with poisonous fire that could melt stone and dissolve flesh.

The Ancient One never delivered our message. He-she sank in that storm.

In that terrifying moment we began to lose our insight.

The Sky Father and the Fire Father attacked the lairs of the dissimilars. Many of us, driven by rage and hunger, joined them; the most of them were slayed, and many lairs were lost to the noxious squalls. Sick with grief, the Great Mother retired from the winds to protect the last lair.

The Small Father remained still. We came to him, urging him to help us destroy those who harmed us. Only if we could answer one question, he replied, he would follow us: what had been our message to the dissimilars. But our minds were empty. We turned on him instead, and banished him from the winds' eye.

Look at our final message, offspring; look, and remember it. We still fight, but our sapience is fading. We gave up on our insight, and we will die because of that. Even so, don't forget that once we knew how to harness the winds and shape the signs. For as long as one of us remembers, offspring, we know who we are.

### Latest WIP ###

jtougas
05-31-2014, 08:58 PM
That is simply tremendous. I have a fascination (well maybe bordering on obsession..) with Dragons. For the better part of 30 years I have written about and read everything I could find about them. You have done the seemingly impossible, create a creation "myth" from the Dragon's point of view. I can honestly say that I have goosebumps from reading your excerpt. The map is beautiful and evokes the feeling of being created by creatures with a vastly different worldview than us landlocked humans. Incredible work. :)

Shall Teclex
05-31-2014, 10:31 PM
Thank you, jtougas. This challenge strung the dragon-loving chord in me, too. The story is not an excerpt, but an original piece of fiction written for this month's challenge. Every artist likes to hear that his/her work gave the audience goosebumps...

Domino44
05-31-2014, 10:51 PM
Great story! Just what I wanted, it works perfectly with the map!

Shall Teclex
05-31-2014, 11:46 PM
I'm glad you like it, Domino44! I actually wrote the outline of the story first, then made a map after it; I just needed a couple of days to polish the text (but I still notice a pile of misstakes, though).