Inktober 2021 has kicked off, and I'll be updating this post with each piece! But Patreon is where it's really at for Inktober each year - patrons get to see all pieces a day early AND this year there is a daily patron-only auction where the originals are offered at rock bottom prices - do not miss out on the best Patreon event all year! www.patreon.com/tortoiseharecreations (**Special Thanks to Riley Black ( www.twitter.com/rileycantwrite ) for all of the italicized descriptive text this Inktober!!**)
Day 1 - Crystal
Most would call wizards who achieve immortality by infusing themselves with undeath a "lich". Erdmon calls them "unimaginative". Why spend eternity as exactly the thing you spent so much effort to avoid becoming? Iron and stone, diamond and clay - these are what a wizard of true vision like Erdmon would choose to house their soul. For what on earth could be more enduring than the earth itself?
Day 2 - Suit
Crispus the Tailor does not care for the scruffy "heroes" who lumber into his shop, begging to be made presentable. What he does with the exorbitant sums of gold he charges them is unclear, because he certainly doesn't spend it on more comfortable quarters than the simple bunk tucked away in his office. His customers get the feeling he sees them as mere canvas for a painting he can't quite get right.
Day 3 - Vessel
"Roleah should have known better than to trick a trickster god, but such is the hubris of mortals. She gained the immortality she sought through her deceit, but must now spend it pouring all the world's rivers from an endless procession of pots flown to her by the aggrieved god's crows. He has long since forgotten the slight, but will never forgive it."
Day 4 - Knot
"When warlocks speak of "binding" demons, it is not usually in so literal a sense as is the case with Aztriz. A sanctified rope, delicately woven from the hair of angels, restrains her both physically and astrally. Whoever holds the other end may command her, but Aztriz is patient, and knows that a rope may be pulled from either end."
Day 5 - Raven
"Life as a street urchin in the slums of Cortis is hard for anyone, but harder still for someone like Norveau. He could never hide in a crowd, so he learned to hide in the shadows, and to take what he needed to survive. But after a robbery gone wrong and a narrow escape, Norveau found that what he enjoyed taking most of all was lives."
Day 6 - Spirit
"Gaddi has a long way to go before she'll be a full-fledged spirit-tender, but she's learning quickly. Getting the little rascals properly cleaned and separated is a taxing job - especially when they get rowdy - but she loves the way they sing to her. She wishes the others could hear them sing, too."
Day 7 - Fan
"The high priest's voice fades to a dull hum in Rosa's mind as she dances. True, the whirling arcs of her fan and body are as much a part of the rites as the words he intones. But she doesn't do it for him, or for their god. The dance is hers, and others can only witness..."
Day 8 - Watch
"When Baron Ivo scalped the War Watch from some junk-merchant for a mere five crowns, he joked that he had practically stolen it. Seconds after activating it, as his body was aging into dust, he would realize the watch agreed."
Day 9 - Pressure
"Breaking rocks was supposed to be Cristo's sentence, but he found it was the only thing that made sense to him. When his time was up and the gaolers unlocked his irons, he gave them only a glance before going back to work."
Day 10 - Pick
"A desire to master the lute just so happened to grip Garrence hours after he heard the women of the Adventurer's Guild love a good bard. A month later, having mysteriously failed to achieve worldwide renown, the impossible instrument would take up permanent residence in Garrence's closet, between the grimoire and the broadsword."
Day 11 - Sour
"Looking back with the benefit of experience, Miss Cordelia knows being expelled from the Academy of Sorcery was the best thing that could have happened to her. Being sent back to the orphanage put her in position to one day become its headmistress, after all. Now Miss Cordelia can keep a watchful eye on the children, and firmly stamp out any notions they develop about pursuing such foolishness. They will surely thank her, in time."
Day 12 - Stuck
"They had to know. Standing was impossible, and his punctured lungs burned like hot coals as he shouted, but they had to hear him and look, had to see him die on the wall. Not in his sleep like a sick animal. Like they thought he would. He gathered his last breath, pushing the pain away, and shouted again. They had to know."
Day 13 - Roof
"The peasants called Nick "The Saint," and the irony was not lost on him. The feasts he would throw for them, the gifts he would have delivered to them by his agents - these cost a good portion of the wealth he robbed from careless merchants and nobles traveling in his territory, but their silence when the Sheriff's men came sniffing around was of far more value. Still, as the years passed Nick found that giving his plundered riches away made him happy. Jolly, even."
Day 14 - Tick
"No vampire needs a blade to draw blood, of course. But the Golden Duchess finds using one's own teeth to be uncivilized, like a child shoveling soup with its grubby little hands. She will not stand for that sort of thing at her dinner parties. You will use your utensils, or you will sleep in the sunroom until you learn some manners."
"The Luminous Nibbler may be the most curious little creature in the depths of the Ebonsea. It has no defense mechanisms, no ability to hide from or fight off predators, no means of taking down prey. What it does have...is a friend."
Day 16 - Compass
"They called him Walking Ben, because he always was. Rain or shine, day or night. He never hurried, but also never stopped, never spoke, and never stopped smiling. He hasn't been seen in over a hundred years, but his body was never found. Maybe Death couldn't keep up with him."
Day 17 - Collide
"This was not how Khanli had planned to reveal her identity to the crowd. She'd pictured herself dramatically ripping her helmet off from atop the Champion's Dais, taking in the crowd's shocked gasps as her hair spilled out over her armored shoulders. But she had to admit - losing it in the second round got the same reaction, and hearing those gasps slowly turn into chants of her name as the tournament wore on made her heart soar."
Day 18 - Moon
"Brandolyn knows the magehounds will soon catch her and bring her back to the Thaumaturgium, like always. But maybe this time she'll beat her three-hour record, if her new scent-mask cantrip works like it did in her room. Not bad for a girl who's not even allowed in the libraries!"
Day 19 - Loop
"Jin closed his eyes and took slow, deep breaths. Maintaining focus was difficult, but the energies began to gather around him. Slowly, carefully, he coaxed them into the necessary pattern. Occasionally, for one perfect moment, the flows would align and stay balanced against each other. Jin threw himself into this moment whenever it came, because it was the only time he could forget. The only time the flames died out and the screams went silent."
Day 20 - Sprout
"The Cortisian necromancers could coax dead things into moving around, and the golemlords of Kel-Salazar could do the same for rocks piled in the shape of men. But Jonah was not impressed with such counterfeits. He could create life far more authentic; all he needed was sun, soil, and seed."
Day 21 - Fuzzy
"Brand scratched at his uncomfortable fur. A month's salary for one night standing guard at a wizard's costume party - even with the stipulation that he, too, would have to be in "costume" - seemed too good to be true. Had Brand noticed that the job contract didn't include his return to human form, he would have realized that it was."
Day 22 - Open
"When taunting a vampire, one should choose their words carefully. For example, "I'd like to see you try" can be an invitation."
"Any competent ranger can identify which mushrooms are poisonous if not properly prepared. But actually preparing them is quite a different skill, as Kagnass would learn over the course of thirty screaming hours."
Day 24 - Extinct
"In the morning, Zina declared that she wanted to be a dinosaur when she grew up. By noon, she changed her mind and preferred to be a princess instead. That evening, when a djinn sprang from the ring she'd found and offered her a wish, she realized she didn't have to choose."
Day 25 - Splat
"Grinky never see such slow, fat bird! Grinky kill, never be hungry again! Grinky dive fast, fast, fast! Hit fat bird right in eye, easy kill! Stupid fat bird never know what hi-"
Day 26 - Connect
"Casey jacked in as the Tek-Noman-C exec listened to his demo. Binding a Time Elemental to a neurolink session, he explained, would let him operate at speeds to make an AI jealous. Think of the applications! ...In the nine days it took his body to die of dehydration, his mind spent fifteen years as the spirit's plaything."
Day 27 - Spark
"Lucille Knight-of-Storms hates that nickname. She'd rather be known for her expertise as the barony's financier, or for her exquisite pottery. She isn't even really a knight! But you incinerate one warlord..."
Day 28 - Crispy
"Many a would-be pyromancer gives up the first time a spell goes wrong. Not Jayce - he knows that every scar is proof that the flame returns his love. You wouldn't abandon a dog just because it jumped up and licked your face, would you?"
Day 29 - Patch
"When Serkhen destroyed the malfunctioning golem that took her eye, the clan-council sympathized. When she killed the artisan who created it, they forgave. When she began hunting down anyone who knew any part of the process of making them, they began to think there was a problem."
Day 30 - Slither
"Sssssss sssss Ss'ss-sssss's sss... Ss sssss ssss sss. Ssss, sss ssssss's ssss sss Sssssss'S'sss Sssss. Sssssss."
Day 31 - Risk
"Months of negotiations with demonic agents. Endless nights spent with barrister-arcanists examining clauses in minute detail. Fortunes paid to diviners mapping out every possible outcome. All leading the king to this moment, this one signature. His peoples' safety and prosperity guaranteed for all time, and not one soul for Hell in exchange - just a few earthly concessions. No tricks. No loopholes. No unforseeable consequences. It would be unconscionable for him NOT to agree, and he knows it. So...why does he hesitate now? Why does he want to drop the pen and run? And why is the demon still smiling?"