+ inload: Surufesh Silvertongue +

+ inload: Surufesh Silvertongue +

+ The Cronecrowned Mormaer +

From beneath, the sun looks broken. The surface of the water turns its hard light into slow shards that dance across the prince's skin where he lies, unbreathing, on the crystalline sand. His black eyes glitter in a face as pale as bone.

A minute passes. Two. The flow of the river is un-urgent. It is, like everything here, perfect. The water, clean and pure, drifts over him. His pulse is slow, his breath held. The moment cannot last. 

But it can be stretched. 

The river flows on. It is, like the rest of the landscape here, unchanging. The banks do not shift, nor does silt build up. It has been created to be perfect; and in being perfect, it attains a quality that some like the prince find unsettling. The dreams of this valley's architects created artistry beyond human understanding, but the results remain a mirror to reality – presenting it perfectly yet indefinably inaccurately, like the reverse of a coin.

The world is a beautiful mask. Worn closely enough, one might pretend it was one's true face. The skin beneath, however, itched.

A third minute passes, but the equilibirum is spent. The peace thins, becoming tense and attenuated. His breath is spent. Closing those black eyes, he smoothly stands up. Head breaking the surface, his hair begins to plaster itself down his face and neck, then shoulder and flank as he comes to his full height. As the water cascades from him, he exhales.

Facing the bank, the sashes around his waist and arm trail away, following the current as though pleading him to turn back, to escape down the river.

A little way back from the bank sit three. Two wear robes like his; a muted red. On this world, crafted from the waking dreams of their terrified people, this colour most commonly meant silence. The third wore robes of an indeterminate hue. It was neither saffron nor red, though it shared aspects of both. She was not the leader of the group.

The one does not address the three. The four do not speak. No outcast can be honoured, and nor can he offer meaningful honour of his own. For an Eldar, this is akin to excommunication. But what punishment would that be to a culture whose gods are dead, or mad – or worse?

In the stillness, the robes of the four appear tattered, damaged and careworn. A closer examination would reveal that they have been tailored this way; their construction artfully weaving a stylised impression of rags. There is a hateful beauty in the languid fabric.

The water stirs pleadingly around his legs as the prince advances towards the bank. He walks past the three, who do not acknowledge his movement, and comes to rest a step or two behind them, slightly off to one side. The red-yellow-robed eldar stands. She is the Crone here, though her skin is as unblemished as the prince's. 

Lowering her hood, she looks out over the river to the artificial horizon. A handprint, made with heavy yellow clay, and now dried and flaking, is spread over that face. Her head is shaved bare, save for three or four strands teased across and plastered to her scalp to make her unlovely. They fail, framing the elegant lines of her face rather than drawing the eye from it. She looks up, to the white sun. It reflects on her eyes, the pupils of which are as large and black as any other eldar.

There is a communion of sorts. A wordless baptism occurs. 

The prince strides away, his footfalls real on the false ground. There is much to be done, and much still to come on worlds far from here.


Asslessman said...

Marvellous no less.

Lasgunpacker said...

Fantastic paint job that really enhances the already excellent model.

I love the skin in particular. How is it done?

JimmyGrill said...

Very cool, where ist the hair from? Is the head from the Dire Avengers?