The Khuashtunng live far in the north of the world, though they speak the same language as the Furrush who live in many cities along the Great Road. They are known in the Center of the World as the Riders of Akum, whose giant bird steeds eat meat.
Aghuur is the favored steed of Ngatekhuur Pakhu, who raised her from an egg. And today they leave to hunt mountain goats together for a few days. They’re both excited about the trip.
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We here in 2019 in the post-colonial late-stage Capitalist Earth are really hooked on the idea of money. But it’s not an obvious idea, and modern economists even have a hard time describing what it is.
The World of Names is big and Earthen-Being are small; While the Giants strode across it like a single field; and to the Descendants of Heaven all distances are as one; to even the boldest Earthen-Being, the reach of their life is like a single poppy seed in a field stretching far past the reach of the eye.
And so, when an Earthen-Being has a desire and does not wish to force its satisfaction, what have they to trade in foreign lands that those recognize as worthy of the satisfaction of that desire?
Among the Great Names, none are as dread, nor as venerated, as that of Tiamut, who taught the Earthen-Beings right from wrong that they might rebel against the Giants and taught them writing so that lies would persist as long as truths.
It has been difficult to portray her. Tiamat, from whom I draw inspiration, is described in two ways: the salt water mother whose union with the fresh waters of the rivers birthed the world; and as a terrifying monster described only in glimpses that usually sound like a sphynx with the head of a lion, hands of a human, wings of an eagle, and udders.
Since Labiasam is the Mother of Sea Monsters in the World of Names and I wish to be faithful to the mythological feeling of the setting, I’m being completely unclear about which is what.
That said, here she is in my first decent sketches. I think she will be something like this in the final. I’m making her features just slightly human, but I don’t want her to quite be personable. The character I’m keeping in my mind is that she’s like a 50-year-old woman, who’s had her kids who have grown up and now she, more than anyone, knows how absolutely everything works.
My favorite canonical feature of Tiamat, by the way, is the pomegranate of wisdom growing out of her head, echoing the Forbidden Fruit of Gan Eden (do your research, Christians!) and Persephone’s pomegranate that makes her retreat each year, bringing winter.
I was having a hard time illustrating Bahamut, so I needed to figure out its physiology. Were one to back up against the Vault of Heaven, this might be what you would see far below, somewhere. How this beast manages to hide is a deep mystery. It surely does not want to be found.
The World of Names writhes with living promises, the words of Namedealers plying the whims and vanities of the mighty forces of nature.
But Hanta has made a promise to enter the Waters of the Underworld. To most, that would be a simple condemnation to death. And Hanta is fairly certain that for her, it is, too.
As she rows downstream, dressed in the splendrous ceremonial regalia of an escort of the Pharaohs, she broods on her fate, bound she is by a complex knot of long-held promises — a knot pulled tight by generations of treaties spun by the priests, astrologers, and magicians of Misr with the river; with the Sky that covers it with its unblinking eyes; with the towns and ports that seed its shores with life; with vassal kings and heroes.
Losing hope, she accepts the offer of the young, pretty courtesan Tinkari for companionship.
…and to uncover what transpires between them, you will need to read Hugo-nominated author Mimi Mondal’s tale, detailed in the pages of the upcoming Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze! Of course, like all of my work, you will be able to see it first as a patron of my work at my Patreon!
Heroes have deaths. In fact, sometimes it’s the crux of their whole story, per Le Morte D’Arthur. And, like so many myths, they’re inconsistent. Did Herakles die? Or did he ascend to Mt. Olympus? It depends on who you ask and what their interest is in the answer.