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October 26 2017

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did someone say new trailer featuring all my favs

October 25 2017

My intaglio professor at random: I can see that you really love etching. So many details. I admire your dedication and patience. You would propably spend all days and nights making graphics, wouldn’t you?

Then he checks himself: Well, maybe not the nights.

Me mumbling: At nightime I make illustrations.

October 24 2017

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“A sea-folk blinder than the sea
Broke all about his land,
But Alfred up against them bare
And gripped the ground and grasped the air,
Staggered, and strove to stand.

He bent them back with spear and spade,
With desperate dyke and wall,
With foemen leaning on his shield
And roaring on him when he reeled;
And no help came at all.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Help may not have come to King Alfred, but it came to the #FellCompany! We have emerged from an amazing week of adventures with many more stories to tell! Our Rangers and Sword-Thanes are returning home to heal their wounds and sharpen their swords for next time!

Photos by the ever amazing @nicolasbruno (at Wessex)

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October 23 2017

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Arrow!” said the bowman. “Black arrow! I have saved you to the last. You have never failed me and always I have recovered you. I had you from my father and he from of old. If ever you came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain, go now and speed well!

-J.R.R. Tolkien

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Thákane: Dragon-slaying South African Princess

Did you know African folklore had dragons? I didn’t. Nor did I know it had dragon-slaying princesses.

Then I read the tale of Thákane.

Thákane was the daughter of a great chief. After said chief died, she was unfortunately saddled with the responsibility of raising her two lazy brothers. How lazy were these guys? Well, after months of Thákane taking them to warrior school way up in the mountains, then preparing their clothes, shields, and weapons for graduation, they refused to leave. Because the clothes weren’t good enough.

That’s right. These lazy bozos were like, “since we’re the sons of a great chief, we should be wearing something better than everyone else. We’re not leaving this training hut1 until we have a blanket, a cap, and a shield all made out of nanabolele skin. One for each of us.”

Now, in Basotho mythology, a nanabolele is a water-dwelling dragon. They are horrible creatures who give off light in the dark, and always arrive in a cloud of red smoke. Telling your sister to go fight one is like asking her to go punch a shark to death.

“You’re crazy,” Thákane replied. “Where am I supposed to get that?!”

DAD could have done it,” they said.

“Dad would have whupped your ass,” she likely grumbled as she went back to the village and gathered up people to help. Predictably, they were like, “you want to dowhat!? That’s crazy, Thákane!” To which she was like, “if dad was around, they’d be having nanabolele skin jamboree, right?” Understanding that, culturally, she was expected to pick up the slack, the villagers groaned and fell in behind her.

So a huge group of the bravest Basotho left the village, hunting for nanabolele. But they didn’t know where to find them. So they went to a broad stream, tossed in some ox meat, and Thákane sang a diss song, trying to taunt the nanabolele out of the stream. But all that rustled out was a frog, who told them to keep going until they could “dip water with the husk of the poison plant, there you must cross.”

Not knowing what exactly that meant, they continued on, tossing meat into various bodies of water and singing, only to be told the same thing by a surprisingly well-informed and eloquent network of amphibians.

Finally they got to a very wide river with thick reeds, and did the same thing – but nothing happened. They threw increasing quantities of meat into the river, until, when they tossed in an entire ox, the river started bubbling. They stood back, ready for a fight, but the only thing to emerge was an old woman.

The old lady took them down underneath the water (where they seemed to have no problems breathing), to her deserted village. The nanabolele, she explained, had eaten everyone there, except the old lady, whose skin was too tough from working too hard all her life (yeah!). So they left her alive, and she  had to take care of them. But she was rather sick of it, and liked Thákane’s nanabolele diss song, so she was willing to help them out.

She hid the Basotho party in a deep hole, and soon the herd of nanabolele came back. They stomped around the village, looking for the humans they smelled, but unable to find them (and rather tired from hunting all day), they gave up and went to sleep. As soon as they were asleep, Thákane snuck up to the biggest one and slaughtered it. That’s ice cold, Thákane.

The Basotho turned to leave, but the old lady stopped them and handed over a small ironstone pebble. “The nanabolele are gonna be pissed when they wake up, y’all. I’m not even kidding,” she said. “Toss this down when they come after you, and it’ll turn into a mountain so high they can’t climb it.”

“Um, okay,” said the Basotho. “Thanks! Here, you want an ox or two?”

“Sure,” said the old lady. Presumably she hid them in the same hole she hid the Basotho. Poor oxen. You didn’t deserve that.

So, just as the old woman predicted, in the morning, the surviving nanabolele came flying after the Basotho hunting party, trailing a cloud of red smoke. Thákane threw down the magic pebble, and it instantly grew into a mountain. After much flailing and gnashing of teeth, the nanabolele, unable to climb the mountain, gave up and went home. The mountain thankfully downsized itself back to a pebble, and the Basotho continued on their way. Since the journey took a couple days, this happened multiple times, but they beat the nanabolele each time.

When they got to the village and the nanabolele came for revenge, Thákane released the village dogs on them. This, the nanabolele did not expect, and this time left for good. I am assuming these were some scary-ass dogs.

And so Thákane had a guy make shields, blankets, hats, hip clothes, and shoes out of the nanabolele – it was a big mo’fo apparently – and gave them to her brothers. Delighted at having unique glow-in-the-dark bling, the two left their grass huts to show off to everyone else at warrior school. Thankful to Thákane, they gave her a hundred head of cattle.

The story ends with the traditional “happily ever after”-esque sign-off of all Basotho tales: ke tsoma ka mathetho, “this is a true tale of the Basotho people.”


  • I was so jazzed to draw an African dragon, you have no idea. I’d never heard of such a thing before — and I couldn’t find any visual reference — so I got to go wild. In the end, since it lives in the water, it’s fundamentally a crocodile, but it has leopard spots throughout that glow when it’s emitting the red smoke. It also has horns.
  • The Basotho are known for wearing ornamental blankets and hats. They picked up this tradition sometime in the 1800s, after exposure to the west, so this depiction is technically inaccurate for the time period portrayed, but it’s so closely linked to them that I just had to have it in there. Plus it looks cool.
  • One of the warriors in the background is thrusting a skin shield at the sleeping nanabolele. These really exist, and are the strangest-shaped, most seemingly non-functional shields I’ve ever seen. But they look cool!


Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World by Kathleen Ragan


A legend that may have been more of a thought experiment: what if Malinche had fought the Spanish?

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This week at YourWildCity.com: a little guide to clouds.


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Polish nobility’s coats / cloaks

Ferezja was a wide coat worn by Polish nobility (see: szlachta) and hussars mostly in the 16th century and early 17th century. Ferezja was long - often reached ankles in the lenght. It was made most often from a red cloth or of velvet (red in the most festive versions). It had fur or silk lining, for winter or summer garments respectively. Typical ferezja had a short standing collar and loose sleeves. In the front it was fastened with decorative gallons. 

A similar coat that is often mistaken with ferezja was a delia, popular in Poland between c. 16th-18th centuries. Delia had most often split sleeves, a vertical row of decorative buttons made of precious metals, and very often a characteristic fur collar or fur section sewn in over the whole shoulders area.

Poles often worn them over the shoulders in a form of a cloak, and with sleeves hanging loose on the sides.

Ferezja went out of fashion in 17th century in Poland, being gradually replaced by much more decorative garment called kontusz. Kontusz as an outer garment dominated the fashion of Polish nobility throughout the second half of 17th century up until the late 18th century. 

While on decline among the upper classes, coats inspired by the ferezja and delia were later used by Polish lower classes as decorative outer garments in folk costumes.

Sources of images: wikipedia.org, rotapiesza.org


Brain: oh oh, I don’t feel like working… maybe if you give me like 5 minutes, I’ll pull myself to focus?

Me: ugh, okay.

Me:…but I can’t afford to waste the time, so let’s do some graphics in the meantime.

…which is why, I run out of metal plates, and I’m now procastinating writing by doing illustrations. I finished the Star Wars set.

I’m still doomed.



for you city slickers

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Hohenzollern Castle, Germany (by Fabian Fortmann)

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Dante and Virgil in hell, Italian 14th cent. Dante is seen hiding on the let as Virgil tries to calm the demons

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9 Circles of Hell (Dante’s Inferno).

1. First Circle (Limbo)
Dante’s First Circle of Hell is resided by virtuous non-Christians and unbaptized pagans who are punished with eternity in an inferior form of Heaven. They live in a castle with seven gates which symbolize the seven virtues. Here, Dante sees many prominent people from classical antiquity such as Homer, Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Hippocrates and Julius Caesar.

2. Second Circle (Lust)
In the Second Circle of Hell, Dante and his companion Virgil find people who were overcome by lust. They are punished by being blown violently back and forth by strong winds, preventing them to find peace and rest. Strong winds symbolize the restlessness of a person who is led by desire for fleshly pleasures. Again, Dante sees many notable people from history and mythology including Cleopatra, Tristan, Helen of Troy and others who were adulterous during their lifetime.

3. Third Circle (Gluttony)
When reaching the Third Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil find souls of gluttons who are overlooked by a worm-monster Cerberus. Sinners in this circle of Hell are punished by being forced to lie in a vile slush that is produced by never ending icy rain. The vile slush symbolizes personal degradation of one who overindulges in food, drink and other worldly pleasures, while the inability to see others lying nearby represents the gluttons’ selfishness and coldness.

4. Fourth Circle (Greed)
In the Fourth Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil see the souls of people who are punished for greed. They are divided into two groups – those who hoarded possessions and those who lavishly spent it – jousting. They use great weights as a weapon, pushing it with their chests which symbolizes their selfish drive for fortune during lifetime. The two groups that are guarded by a character called Pluto (probably the ancient Greek ruler of the underworld) are so occupied with their activity that the two poets don’t try to speak to them. Here, Dante says to see many clergymen including cardinals and popes.

5. Fifth Circle (Anger)
The Fifth Circle of Hell is where the wrathful and sullen are punished for their sins. Transported on a boat by Phlegyas, Dante and Virgil see the wrathful fighting each other on the surface of the river Styx and the sullen gurgling beneath the surface of the water. Again, the punishment reflects the type of the sin committed during lifetime. While passing through, the poets are approached by Filippo Argenti, a prominent Florentine politician who confiscated Dante’s property after his expulsion from Florence.

6. Sixth Circle (Heresy)
When reaching the Sixth Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil see heretics who are condemned to eternity in flaming tombs. Here, Dante talks with a couple of Florentines – Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti – but he also sees other notable historical figures including the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Pope Anastasius II. The latter, however, is according to some modern scholars condemned by Dante as heretic by a mistake. 

7. Seventh Circle (Violence)
The Seventh Circle of Hell is divided into three rings. The Outer Ring houses murderers and others who were violent to other people and property. Here, Dante sees Alexander the Great (disputed), Dionysius I of Syracuse, Guy de Montfort and many other notable historical and mythological figures such as the Centaurus, sank into a river of boiling blood and fire. In the Middle Ring, the poet sees suicides who have been turned into trees and bushes which are fed upon by harpies. But he also sees here profligates, chased and torn to pieces by dogs. In the Inner Ring are blasphemers and sodomites, residing in a desert of burning sand and burning rain falling from the sky.

8. Eight Circle (Fraud)
The Eight Circle of Hell is resided by the fraudulent. Dante and Virgil reach it on the back of Geryon, a flying monster with different natures, just like the fraudulent. This circle of Hell is divided into 10 Bolgias or stony ditches with bridges between them. In Bolgia 1, Dante sees panderers and seducer. In Bolgia 2 he finds flatterers. After crossing the bridge to Bolgia 3, he and Virgil see those who are guilty of simony. After crossing another bridge between the ditches to Bolgia 4, they find sorcerers and false prophets. In Bolgia 5 are housed corrupt politicians, in Bolgia 6 are hypocrites and in the remaining 4 ditches, Dante finds hypocrites (Bolgia 7), thieves (Bolgia 7), evil counselors and advisers (Bolgia 8), divisive individuals (Bolgia 9) and various falsifiers such as alchemists, perjurers and counterfeits (Bolgia 10).

9. Ninth Circle (Treachery)
The last Ninth Circle of Hell is divided into 4 Rounds according to the seriousness of the sin though all residents are frozen in an icy lake. Those who committed more severe sin are deeper within the ice. Each of the 4 Rounds is named after an individual who personifies the sin. Thus Round 1 is named Caina after Cain who killed his brother Abel, Round 2 is named Antenora after Anthenor of Troy who was Priam’s counselor during the Trojan War, Round 3 is named Ptolomaea after Ptolemy (son of Abubus), while Round 4 is named Judecca after Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

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The Art of Benjamin Sack

A small sampling of the amazing drawings by Ben Sack: artist, cartographer and maker of worlds.

Check out this tumblr!

See more ARCHy here.

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Sir Edward Burne-Jones

“Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth” (1861)

Reposted bynvmsmoke11
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Labyrinth by artist Andrew Ferez.

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‘So now the battle was ended…and all the wickedness and ugliness that infest life, were past and gone forever’

‘The Minotaur’, Edmund Dulac, 1918

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Rene Magritte - Minotaure

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