Monday, October 24, 2016

Trillahru MOC

You remember Trillahru, the map maker. Yesterday I finally took pictures of her MOC I made recently. Here she is in the village of Ga Koro just outside someones hut, possibly hers. 

Trill seems perfectly fine as an MOC for playing with, but then it occurred to me that her build and mask type may be mistaken too quickly as an MOC of Turaga Nokama. Unfortunately no choice seems appropriate to get the look of Trill in toy form considering my blue mask options are limited, and the ones that match fairly well to her drawn features happen to be masks associated with big name Bionicle canon figures like Nokama and Hahli. I could have given her the mask of Gali Mata, but that would just cause people to think it's Hahli, and this mask choice may bring the idea that it's Turaga Nokama. 
It's a win/lose sort of deal with how the build of Trill turned out....But the illustrations still make me fairly happy.
This village scene of her posing awkwardly is a digital collage made from selected images of beach scenery and lily pads. Left version is the full detailed image, but I felt blurring the background gave more focus to Trill (right)
 
 I have a main version with blurring and no glowing vignette. This one has an added green filter as a last minute adjustment, to try and balance the realism of a toy placed in a digital setting.

I'm not sure if the green tinting helped, but it's here.
 
Also, I played with shadow direction, trying to figure out which way hers should go in order to create a proper illusion. This one seems to work, yet at the same time I'm not sure if it keeps the right illusion. I played more with this one, aiming to make it seem as realistic as I can without being too extreme in photo editing. The picture on the right might be a better choice as a main image.

I felt the lily pads needed to sink into the water more since Trill still has weight to her. The water also seemed to need a slight ripple, and reflection of Trill's shadow. I added a green tint in lighting, got rid of the white vignette glow, and blurred the hard edges of Trill's form. Seems alright.
Here are the detailed versions of Trill running along a sandy trail. One plain and the other with a vignette frame to make it seem kind of like a postcard.
Again, I blurred the background to help bring focus on Trill. This scene with the hazy vignette seems kind of dreamy to me. It's like an old photo captured in time, Trill no doubt running after Pearllight as the two play during a day of exploration.

In the scene of Trill running, the youthful spring in her movements seem to help diminish the concept of her form being that of Turaga Nokama. And her spear doesn't look like Nokama's staff of authority, it's merely the only thing I had on hand which looked kind of like a spear.
Since I can never decide, here's the non vignette version. Still makes a good picture for a book.

Monday, October 17, 2016

LoL Chapter 14- Confronting Toxins

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EA-nnIWcqJ4/V-WuIqIvtOI/AAAAAAAAcRA/42M6bnoXsqAVqNgj5H6Uf-sSG9N04pxSQCK4B/s1600/LoL%2Bbase%2Bposter.jpg 
Chapter 14- Confronting Toxins

By the third week of January, Lewa and Venimbus find themselves meeting again, Venimbus's longing to see him as strong as Lewa's longing to see her.
Lewa had been learning a lot about the Junti people, and Venimbus was equally interested by the air people, finding flight an enchanting thing.
The two meet in the forest on a sunny afternoon, swinging through the trees by the vines and skimming through sun speckled groves below, their laughter and movement frightening birds and monkeys who clatter and screech.


“Woo! Nothing like a vine-swing through the bright-light sun beams eh, Venimbus?” grins Lewa, his eyes like a child's filled with a deep happiness.
Venimbus smiles and suddenly twists into her vine above the sun speckled clearing in the forest, spinning around and doing odd, yet captivating acrobatics seven feet above the ground, Lewa swinging down and coming to a dead stop with wonder struck eyes.
Venimbus pauses and looks at him with a grin, seeing she has his attention.
“What in Mata Nui is this strange-odd wonder-great dance?” Lewa pikes, enthralled.
Venimbus chuckles, “It's a form of vine dancing, one of many different Junti dances. Vine dancing is one of the hardest and at times most dangerous dance we have.”
Lewa comes closer, “Sounds like an air Toa would fit right in then.” he grins.
Venimbus smiles and swings up, showing him a few more steps to the dance. “It's pretty simple once you get a feel for it. The dances vary to however you need, consisting of different firm twists, tight holds, momentum spins, and weight shift. First step is to wrap your leg in and twist the vine around your middle.”
Lewa grabs a vine and climbs up till he's beside her, following what she does. “Wrap my leg and twist in my middle....like this?” he shows.
Venimbus nods, “Then just swing your legs upward and curve your back.”
Lewa nods, thinking it looks easy, but when he tries it he yelps and loses grip on the vine, then dangles upside down by his foot like a fish hanging from a thread. “Ah monkey turds....” he grumbles.
Venimbus giggles and helps him back up, then shows him again, Lewa getting the hang of it after five tries and learning the rest fairly quickly, a bit rough for his first time, but catching on fast.
Venimbus claps after an hour lesson. “Very good, you seem to be a natural.”
“Really?” Lewa questions in surprise.
Venimbus nods. “Some take months to learn vine dancing, others never catch on. It's a skill, one that requires a very strong core and a knack to feel momentum change.”
“Well, I am a Le dweller, the wind is part of momentum, and I'm quite in tune with my element....” Lewa shrugs.
“Could be why you caught on so well....That and you already have a strong core.” Venimbus lightly flirts.
Lewa glances around with an awkward half grin, rubbing the back of his head.

Venimbus smiles, coming over to him and wanting to touch him, pausing. “Would you like to learn some other Junti folk dances?”
Lewa clears his throat and grins, nodding and feeling half flustered at her being so near.
She holds her arms up and splays one foot out. “We'll try a basic one first, take my hands.”
Lewa nods and does so a bit slowly, following her instructions as they do a basic hand dance and chuckle at each other each time they pop their feet and clap.

Venimbus teaches Lewa up to three basic hand dances. The more they touch hands, the more Venimbus wants to be closer to Lewa, and settles on a Junti waltz. “Lewa, one more dance, a waltz my people invented for....well, couples.”
Lewa blushes a little, realizing she's making room for him to touch her.
When she puts her arms up, she tries not to fidget, nodding at Lewa. “Place one hand on my waist.”
Lewa hesitates, “Uh....well, okay....” he says in a half breath, placing his hand on her waist slowly.
Venimbus starts to show him the footwork to mimic, leading him at first. “Once you get this down, you lead me.”
Lewa nods, and after a moment gets the hang of it and leads her as best he can, smiling as they go. Venimbus's blushing gets brighter and she glances at the trees for a moment.
Suddenly Lewa feels an odd stinging sensation in his hands and he cringes, pulling away and ringing his hands about. “Ow ow ow.....yow that stings. What in Mata Nui?” he mutters, looking at his palms that are red and inflamed.

Venimbus's smile vanishes and her face turns to that of guilt and regret. “Oh I'm sorry Lewa....” She sighs and paces a little as Lewa wipes his hands on a leaf.
“What for Venimbus? My hands just feel odd-sore suddenly...Er...” He stops mid way in sentence, seeing her mournful face and realizing she has something to do with it.
Venimbus looks up from her feet. “It's....a defense mechanism. Your hands are stinging because I accidentally got you with natural toxin.”
“Natural toxin?” Lewa asks in utter confusion.
“Yes Lewa. When Junti are flustered or scared, our bodies secrete a natural toxin, like a burning sweat that doesn't harm us, but for any other touching or attacking us it will cause a stinging sensation. It's a defense mechanism....and I got a little flustered. I'm sorry.” she states in half worried thought. “Here I am, a Junti, my body's defense can sting your hands. I can't share the wild fruits I love so well with you though I've wanted to, but know so many things can hurt you.” she mutters in a heavy tone, almost seeming ready to cry.
Lewa sighs, looking down for a moment in thought, understanding, confused, and concerned at the fact he can't touch her. He realizes Venimbus is fearful of hurting him, and even losing him because of the things which make them different, he himself not willing to let the roadblocks get in the way of his love for her. His mind goes back as he thinks on all the moments he's had with Venimbus, sad that he hasn't been able to enjoy her company and sharing to its fullest. Then suddenly as he remembers the opera he thinks on the name, She Came from the Sky, and remembers Pearllight, knowing if anyone can help him with the issue at hand, she would probably be the best bet.
Lewa looks back up and comes over to Venimbus, pulling her into a gentle hug. “Venimbus, don't grave-worry, we'll figure out a way through this, heart-promise. I'll find a way to make it safe for you to hug-hold and be my friend-buddy as much as you want. I'll find a way.” he nods, his voice carrying determination.
Venimbus looks at him with watery eyes, seeing the strength in his and suddenly her worries are lifted, her confidence in him trusting, and she pulls away so he doesn't risk getting burnt again. “Then Toa of air, you have my hope.”

After this the two know it's time to go, the evening coming on fast, Lewa determined to find Pearl, but knowing it will take time to locate her.


Several days go by, Lewa seeking high and low for Pearl. Since he knows the rest of the Nuva are familiar with her, he decides to seek out the members one by one, hoping one of them knew of Pearl's location.
The first person he visits is Gali, knowing Pearl commonly was with her, but much to his disappointment, Gali isn't home. His search didn't end there though, and he couldn't help but overhear a Ga Matoran talking about Gali who had gone to the region of fire.
“The region of fire...” Lewa mutters to himself, now knowing where to head next and taking a long flight to Nu Ta Koro.

As Lewa flies overhead near evening, he notices smoldering glow spots down below, large lava pockets bubbling, and steam rising up. “Well that can't be good.” Lewa grimaces, talking to himself before he lands in the village and asks around for Tahu, a lone Matoran mentioning about Tahu being with some ice type to cap lava pockets.
Lewa sighs and follows the sound of arguing, knowing if anyone, Kopaka is that ice type. Sure enough he's correct, noticing a layer of ice over several pot holes that were spewing lava at one point.
As he goes he finally hears two grumpy voices and comes up to Kopaka and Tahu, Gali coming over after she finishes flooding the small lava flow from a larger crater. “Brothers, I think that's the last of them. Well done Kopaka.” states Gali.
Kopaka nods and glances at Lewa who comes over and waves. “Tahu, Gali, guys. How are you?” he grins.
“Lewa? Finally coming to my region for a change?” smirks Tahu. “You've been missing the action.”
“Action? What's been going on here?” Lewa questions in concern.
Tahu tilts his head back and stretches. “Oh...we've had some underground lava build up that's been coming through the ground in pockets and getting dangerously close to the village. Had to call in Kopaka and Gali to help cap over the hot spots and move the Matoran to safety...”
Lewa pauses, “Oh...so that's why you've been seek-searching for Kopaka?”
Tahu nods and Kopaka puffs, ignoring the conversation.
Tahu shakes his head, “And what brings you here?”
Lewa rubs the back of his neck, glancing at Gali, “Well, actually, I went to seek-find Gali, heard she came here. I was wondering if any of you know where Pearl is...”
“Pearl? Why are looking for Pearl?” Gali questions.
Lewa sighs, “It's...personal. I need her help, and have a few questions to ask her, nothing too bad-serious, just a small life matter.”
Tahu lifts a brow, getting the feeling it has to do with Venimbus, but before he can say anything Gali pauses, “I don't know exactly where she is at the moment, but she said she was going to relax and watch the sunset. She's probably in her favorite grass grove under the palm trees nearby to my home in Nu Ga Koro. Did you bother checking for her there?”
Lewa's face droops and he face palms, chewing himself out mentally. “No....but I will take your word for it, thank you sister.”
Gali nods and before she can ask details, Lewa flies off, heading back towards Nu Ga Koro.
Tahu looks at Gali and the two shrug, feeling a bit concerned and muttering about Lewa's odd behavior.
“What’s up with Lewa?” Gali wonders. “He didn’t even bother asking if we needed help; that’s unlike him.”
Tahu shakes his head, “Don’t trouble yourself, sister, he probably has something on his mind that worries him more than the matter at hand here.”
Gali nods, suspecting Tahu knows something, but not prying into his business.

When Lewa gets back to Nu Ga Koro and nears Gali's home again, he finds the sun is almost gone from the horizon, appearing to sink in the ocean. After he lands, he dashes along the beach around Gali's property is search of Pearl, calling her name and rustling through the plants. “Pearl, are you here?!” he pants, nearing the grove Pearl sits in.
Pearl sits in the sand, looking at the sky and listening to the ocean, suddenly broken from dreaming when she hears Lewa and looks around, startled by his voice. “Lewa, is that you?”
Lewa comes out from behind some bushes and takes in a breath, “Ah, there you are, thank Mata Nui...”
Pearl lifts a brow and gets up. “Yeah, how are you? And why are you here?” she smiles.
“Well....I...um, I was wondering if maybe you can help me, being that you have that strange suit and all.”
Pearl blinks and comes over, leaning against a tree. “Help you with what?”
“Well...it's kind of personal, but I'm in crave-need of help, I'm desperate. I'm...you see I'm madly in love with a Junti named Venimbus. I love her too much to let her down and let her go, but we have a few things that stand between us, not in mind, but in body. Several days ago I tried to dance with her, but fast-discovered Junti have a defense mechanism where their bodies secrete a toxin that burns anyone non Junti. She felt heart-bad, explained the problem. On top of that she can't share her favorite foods with me if they contain toxic fruits....something only Junti seem to be able to handle, and....well, I so crave-wish I could speak her language fluently and be as the Junti because I love her.” Lewa states, having spewed the story and full truth.
“Oh boy Lewa....you've got your heart out on your sleeves...er, armor. But, I understand, if you love her then okay, I'll see what I can do. Just let me scan you real quick....” Pearl says while flipping her helmet on and letting her suit do the work of figuring out what makes Lewa's system different from Junti, having knowledge of how the Junti are because she's scanned them before. After a moment she cocks her head, “Oh....now that makes sense, Junti contain a certain enzyme in their system which others don't. Seems to be a developed enzyme passed on through their genetic code through the generations and all their years of eating highly acidic or somewhat toxic things, thus leading to an immunity which has been passed down through their children. If my suit can duplicate the enzyme, I might be able to adjust your system so you can touch Venimbus, and eat their foods. But Lewa...remember, I'm kind of spooked by this suit and what it can do, I'm only Human you know....And I do think about the consequences that can come from the use of this elemental crystal.”
Lewa sighs, “I know there are hard-bad risks, but if you can make me like the Junti, I'm willing to take the chance. What about being able to understand their language?”
Pearl pauses while her suit calculates, “Hm...Junti is a developed language on this world, something that branched off from basic Agori from what I heard. But I know you've had to adjust to basic Agori even, because you were shielded from Mata Nui's translation ray...I might be able to mimic the frequency Mata Nui used and adjust it for Junti translation.”
Lewa smiles, “Oh that would be so wonderful-great....I'll owe you a huge-large favor if you can help me.”

Pearl shakes her head, smirking at his enthusiasm and knowing this likely won't be the last time Lewa or someone is asking her to use her suit and mind to help, but she accepts it as something that's meant to be, concentrating as best she can. “Well, let’s see if I can pull this off, I don't know what will happen....” she shrugs, cautiously holding up her hand, the palm disk glowing vibrantly as she puts the suit to work and sets her hand over Lewa's heart light, holding her breath as she keeps her mind concentrated on the idea of Lewa having the Junti enzyme.
Lewa stays very still, his hopes high and his body jittery from the feeling of the odd sound waves vibrating through him.
When Pearl pulls her hand away she relaxes and scans Lewa again. “Sure hope nothing bad happened from that. Feel okay?”
Lewa pats himself, nodding, “Yeah, I feel great-fine...But, how do I know it worked?”
Pearl shrugs, “Only one way to truly know, you have to go touch a Junti or nibble on toxic fruits from their region. Might want to talk to Venimbus about this. As for your language comprehension, I saved that step to make sure the first step of adjusting your system wouldn't hurt you.”
Lewa nods in understanding. “Well...can you try that now? Way I see it, if I suddenly great-understand Junti when I go back to the jungle, that could be the first sign that everything else was a success. I didn't feel a thing, just a buzz-vibration.”
Pearl shrugs, having her suit recalculate. “Give me a second to go back and find the old files of when Mata Nui let off that frequency....And, whoa, good thing I archived that file. Okay, it'll take a moment to calibrate the frequency for Junti....”
After a long moment, Pearl holds up her hand again and places it against Lewa's ear, another vibration entering his body and making his head feel a bit funny. “Whoa...strange-odd feeling, like a massage on my brain and head-thoughts.”
Pearl snickers, “That's what sound waves feel like.” She pulls her hand away. “Now listen, I have a recording of Junti speaking to each other, I'll play it for you and you tell me if you understand what they're saying.”
Lewa nods, cleaning his ears slightly then listening to the recording, his eyes widening, “Mata Nui....Hahaha, I can understand them!” he says with enthusiasm, putting his hands in the air. “They're speak-talking about wheat harvests being great-good for the season.” he grins.
Pearl sees the suit did what it was suppose to and nods. “Good, now all you have to do is go hug Venimbus, I guess.”
Lewa claps his hands and gives Pearl a quick hug, Pearl flinching slightly at his sudden enthusiasm, then smiling and patting his back. “Have fun Lewa, and be careful....”
“Thanks Pearl....Before I go, just to catch up, have you been good-well?” He wonders, in the mood for friendly conversation.

Pearl shrugs, “I've been okay, pretty good actually. What have you been doing?” she questions with a half squint.
“Well...I've been dating obviously, but it's a secret, so no spill-telling. Venimbus and I met at an arena match and later started dating. I've been learning so much from her, and she from me. We've been vine-dancing and food sharing, speak-talking of our past-old adventures and even went to the north for a night at the Ice Opera...We ate this dessert called frozen cream, too.”
“Frozen cream? You mean ice cream?” Pearl questions, interested.
Lewa lifts a brow, “Ice cream?”
“Yeah, was it like chilled milk that's been sweetened and flavored?” Pearl wonders.
Lewa smiles, “Yeah, that's exactly what it was...You call it ice cream?”
Pearl nods, “The stuff is common on my world. Ice cream is a basic treat we keep in a freezer to prevent it from melting. I didn't know they had something like that here. Makes sense for it to be in the north where the cold prevents it from melting.”
Lewa gets interested. “So, what's it like on your world? What foods do you have?”
Pearl smirks, seeing Lewa wants to learn more about other places and details which she never fully got into during her beginning days of meeting the Toa and Matoran, and she flips out a holographic screen from her suit, starting on a long, detailed conversation with video and image references on what her world is like and all the different foods she likes the most, the two having a long conversation and culture share for the next three hours.

By the time they're done, Lewa decides to sleep in a tree for the night, and heads home the next day.


During the morning Lewa swings through the trees, wanting to test the adjustments done to his system,yearning badly to know if it’s a dream come true and thinking about how it might be to speak Junti with Venimbus when he can. On that thought he realizes he might want to practice first with someone else, test his skills so he’s at his best when he meets Venimbus again.
“Where could I go to test what’s been done?” he mutters to himself, remembering the Junti market as he looks over the charm on his neck, an idea forming in his head which makes him grin widely. “That’s it, I can get Venimbus a gift-charm and speak-talk with the locals.”, he thinks, grabbing a vine and swinging towards the market, hoping they’re still open.

When Lewa gets there his ears pick up on bunches of chatter, at first not realizing many people passing by him aren’t speaking Matoran, and he heads over to Jocon’s cart, smirking and hoping he can get some sweets for Venimbus while he’s there.
When Lewa leans against the counter, Jocon peeks his head up from behind the cart and grins. “Well well, look who it is, the love struck Toa of air.”
Lewa shakes his head, “Morning Jocon...I was hoping to buy-purchase some of your toxic fruit chocolates.”
Jocon squints, “For your fine lady I’m guessing. Here, I’d go with the medium box.” he says while setting it on the counter. “Is that the only reason you’re at the market today?”
Lewa smiles and pulls out some widgets. “No, not exactly...I ended up getting an immunity to Junti toxins, but I haven’t yet been able to test out how strong it is.”
Jocon lifts a brow, finding that comment weird. “Let me guess, you discovered the Junti toxin secreted when they’re frightened or flustered…”
Lewa nods, “Yes, and I sought a way to get around that, but nevermind. It’s strange-odd, I don’t remember so many Junti speak-talking Matoran at the market….” he states in half thought as a few people pass by.
Jocon looks at him like he’s crazy, “Uh...if you’re referring to the people who just passed by, not one of them was speaking Matoran, but Junti. What are you trying to pull?” he questions with squinted eyes, thinking Lewa is trying to play a prank.
Lewa pauses, “Wait….they were?” He holds his head, “It worked…” he smiles.
Jocon suddenly mutters in Junti about Lewa being a weirdo who must have gotten into some bad mushrooms and Lewa looks at him, “Eh, I did not! I’m not shroom buzzed or on any kind of venom.”Lewa grumbles back in Junti.
Jocon’s eyes go wide and he freezes, “You...speak Junti already?”
Lewa nods, catching himself and realizing now’s his chance to practice. “Actually, I’d like to work at it a bit more, let’s speak-talk in the Junti tongue.”
Jocon shrugs and continues speaking in Junti instead of Matoran. “Fine, I’ll admit it’s impressive you’ve already gotten this far, as for your immunity to Junti toxins and foods, don’t count on it, even I can’t touch most of the stuff they do. Junti are special…”
Lewa folds his arms, “Forget about that….I can’t explain how, but I can, I just need to test it a bit more.”
Jocon snorts, “Hehe, test your immunity against Junti toxins. What’s your idea? Go and hug someone in the market, have an excuse to shake the hands of all the ladies…”
Lewa glares at him, “No, nothing like that….Change of subject, do you know if Venimbus likes jewelry?”
Jocon pauses, “Yeah, as a matter of fact she loves jewelry, just doesn’t always wear it. If you’re looking for a gift that makes an impression, I’d suggest the charm cart over there.” he points.
Lewa’s eyes get bright, “A charm cart...Thanks Jocon.” He grabs the bag with the chocolates and slides the money to him. “So how’s business been?”
Jocon shrugs, “Perfectly fine, been selling more dried fruits than candies lately. Dried fruit is a well liked thing during the winter months, next best selling thing at the market this month are spiced kabobs, grilled and served with a tangy sauce.”
“Mm, sounds tasty, might sample-try one.” Lewa shrugs, eyeing the kabob cart.
Jokon gets a hesitant face, “Be careful with the Junti spices, you might think you can handle something, till it bites you in the butt.”
“Since when did you care? Ya little prankster…” Lewa puffs.
Jocon shrugs, “Hey, I might play pranks, but I respect a guy who has the guts to touch Junti kabobs.”
Lewa rolls his eyes, “Whatever...I’ll be seeing you, and thanks again.”
Jocon waves goodbye, flopping his hand and shaking his head at Lewa’s odd behavior.

The first cart Lewa visits is the charm cart, going over and looking through all the designs and colors, the one most eye catching to him being the symbol for air. He picks up the charm and sees it has metallic green paint on it, vibrant and shiny when held to the light. “This should make a great-good charm to remind Venimbus of who it’s from.”
The cart owner overhears him and taps his shoulder. “If you want to make a lasting impression with a charm, I’d get the locket version and put a picture in it.”
Lewa pauses, “A locket version? Now why didn’t I think of that. Do you have one in this design?” he says while holding it up.
The owner grabs one like it and clicks it open to show it’s a locket. “We have a little picture booth behind the stand where you can get a photo taken for the charm. It only takes three coins.”
Lewa smiles, pulling out his widget bag. “I’ll take it, and would like the picture too.”
The owner opens a little door and nods for him to come back into the cart where he’s led to a small booth.
“Just sit on the seat, shut the curtain, and look straight ahead at the red dot, then smile.”
Lewa follows the instruction awkwardly and several pictures are taken, his first face one of surprise when a bright light flashes and makes him jump.
When Lewa comes out, the owner laughs after handing him the photos, Lewa looking at the top one and snickering himself. “That glow-bright light-flash was a bit surprising…”
The owner nods. “First time in a picture booth?”
Lewa nods and slips his pictures away, being handed a box for the locket. “Oh, thank you.” he smiles.
The charm seller nods, “Have a nice day.”
Lewa feels content with his findings, now ready to seek out Venimbus and tell her the good news, hopefully able to test his immunity soon.

His final decision is to stop at the kabob stand and try out what Jocon spoke against, wanting to challenge his pallet.
He orders a basic plate of two kabobs with sauce, both sticks of meat appearing grilled and red orange from the spices. Lewa sits and dips the meat in the sauce and takes a bite, Jocon watching eagerly from his cart off in the distance, wanting to see how well Lewa does with Junti kabobs.
Lewa chews and sniffles, surprised by the flavor, but enjoying every minute of it, much to Jocon’s surprise. Lewa looks over at him, giving a thumbs and smirking, Jocon shaking his head and chuckling, realizing Lewa might actually be telling the truth about containing a sudden immunity to certain things.

When Lewa is done there, he leaves the stand and waves goodbye to Jocon, heading back home with his gifts and planning on meeting Venimbus very soon.
That evening he carefully cuts out one of the small pictures of himself, and slips it into the charm, curious about what photographs are and how they work, but knowing that mystery would have to wait.

 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Jusha Flogging Pole

As some artists may know, this is the month of inktober, a challenge I've never participated in before. It got me curious this time, and I had a few ideas swirling around in my head related to a role play concept I had been acting out with an acquaintance. Though I probably won't succeed in continuing the inktober challenge, I managed to make at least one digital ink sketch.

I had an urge to sketch out something Jusha (Jusha being the creepy villain species from the Life of Lewa universe) in digital ink as part of the possible Inktober challenge for the word scary. Above are the basic sketches of a Jusha flogging pole, one image with gray shading, one without.

The main version is made to look like an old story book drawing or encyclopedia page (left).
I was inspired to draw this as a way to display an idea of what the current scene the role play was paused at looks like. Kazikii is about to be tormented by his evil father, in line for 45 lashes with shadow energy.

The flogging pole is made from two logs and a wood beam, held together using wood wedging and very large bolts. This T pole is then staked in the ground and secured with surrounding stones. The stones and two stairs are part of an outdoor patio like area set before Scarough's throne.

Surrounding the area are ceremonial torches made of iron which have a special oil that burns dimly, causing the atmosphere to be lit yet gloomy.

The pole has shackles for the ankles at the base of it, and above are three sets of shackles for holding the wrists. The ones directly above pull the arms upward to stretch them out into the I stance. The other ones on either side are commonly used to pull ones arms outward into the Y stance.
Both methods are cruel, and the chains are long enough to pull through the U loops wedged in the wood to stretch out ones limbs. The chains are then wrapped around and secured to one of the L hooks, four in total placed around the pole.
This nasty torture device has multiple uses which the villainous Jusha culture enjoy.

It's coin named the flog pole, or sometimes the T bar, and some refer to the use of it as T time.
 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

LoL Chapter 13- Night of Ice Opera


Chapter 13- Night of Ice Opera

During the next three weeks in December, Lewa only manages to see Venimbus briefly during each weekend, the two unable to have an outing which lasts more than an hour without the risk of being caught by watchful Junti guards Venimbus constantly avoids.
On the third weekend Venimbus brings Lewa good news, the two hiding in the flower bushes away from Junti regions. “Lewa, I have good news for you. Despite the fact we've had to be hasty these past three weeks in our meeting, I finally have room next week to leave the camp for a full weekend. I picked out something nice to wear and have a cloak, so I'm ready to go to the mountains for a musical evening. You can pick me up at my tree house and we can travel by cart to the mountains. They've got motorized transportation I've heard, so we won't have to be late.”
Lewa smiles and nods, excited at the news and knowing he'll have to find a good way to travel to the mountains by next week since Venimbus can't fly. “All right, I'll meet you then and maybe we can arrive early so we can explore.” he grins.
Venimbus nods, “I look forward to the adventure, wind spirit.”
Lewa can't wipe the sign of  joy from his face, and he picks a white flower, slipping it into Venimbus's helmet, causing her to blush and nod in thanks.
When the two are done exchanging goodbyes, they have to head back to their regions, both having to keep their excitement of an interesting event to come, a secret.
While Venimbus is dealing with camp matters during the week, Lewa is finding a good way to travel from the jungle border to the icy mountains.

A week later Venimbus paces in her tree house, checking over her nicer outfit and preening herself with a bit of a jitter, waiting for Lewa to come.
When she hears him knock at the door, she practically leaps to it and opens it wide, smiling when she sees Lewa holding out a handsome bouquet of flowers, his armor polished and his shoulders covered with a cloak made from basic sailing cloth. “Hi Venimbus, you look most nice-pretty. I brought you some flowers.” he grins, holding them up.
Venimbus takes the flowers and gets a puzzled look at his cloak, but shrugs. “Thank you for the flowers...I didn't think you had a cloak.”
Lewa glances at the cloth on his shoulders, “It's...not really a cloak, just a piece of cloth draped over my shoulders and pinned.” he states awkwardly.
Venimbus sympathizes in relaxed understanding, “Cloaks are cloaks I guess, as long as they let us pass into this opera house, and at least you're clean looking.”
Lewa smiles, at first taking her words as a compliment, but pausing at the last part, “Thank you.....wait, hey....” he squints.
Venimbus chuckles and grabs her bag. “Are we heading out now?”
Lewa smirks, “Yeah, we'll have to stride-walk till we reach the main dirt-path. I found a travel cart that will take us to the mountain.” he smiles, holding out his arm for Venimbus to take.
Venimbus nods in approval and takes his arm, heading out with him and walking for the main dirt path. “You found transportation, I was half skeptical to your success in finding something that would take us that far.”
Lewa tilts his head up, “Ha, I might be an airhead, but I know how to fast-snag a deal.”

When the two get to the main dirt path of the jungle, Lewa leads Venimbus to a large vehicle built for hauling goods or passengers for long distances, the driver a rough iron Agori who talks very little, but takes orders just fine.
Lewa helps Venimbus onto the cart, and when they're seated, taps the driver's shoulder. “On to the icy mountains of the north, please.”
The driver nods and cranks up the gears, starting to drive them to their destination, Venimbus hiding her face with her cloak, not wanting many to see her with Lewa, not even strangers, for fear the news may travel.
Lewa understands her reasons for hiding, but does his best to hold a cheerful conversation for the next few hours, the two talking about the scenery and enjoying the trip, taken by surprise when it starts to flurry as the vehicle travels along the mountain roads.

When all seems to be going well and they're almost there, the driver comes to a halt, the gears of the vehicle grinding, and the engine seeming to struggle. He brings the cart to a stop and hops out of the cockpit with a  grumble, checking under the side panel of his machine and sighing. “You two will have to walk the rest of the way from here. Engine gave out from the cold and it takes time to heat it with heat stones. She can't grip while it's snowing, but she should be fixed by the time you come back from the ice opera.”
Lewa realizes the Agori had been partially listening to their conversation, but brushes it off and nods, glancing at Venimbus. “Guess a walk in the snow won't be too bad...” he shrugs.
Venimbus nods and takes Lewa's hand while he helps her get off the cart, the two of them heading away and walking down the road towards Nu Ko Koro not too far ahead past the marking sign.
“It's pretty cold-chilly....I crave-hope that Agori gets his engine warm again before we come back.”
Venimbus nods. “He seems to be a rather grumpy fellow, but I have heard the iron tribe have their reasons to be grumpy, so I can't judge.”
Lewa shrugs, “As long as he can get us back, I don't great-mind his silence.”

After a moment as they near the village, Lewa pauses in interest when he spots an ice Agori and a Ko Matoran carving away at an ice block and snow mound, creating sculptures from the two.
Venimbus blinks and watches in fascination. “Strange....That carving is completely see through.”
Lewa smiles, “It's ice....I wonder how they sculpt the snow, looks joy-fun.”
Venimbus contemplates on an idea, her eyes squinting when she smiles, “Perhaps we can give it a try and experiment while we're in the region.”
Lewa grins, “That's a great-good idea. In fact, we have a little over an hour or so before the opera begins. Let's try to sculpt-carve the snow while we wait.”
Venimbus nods, looking around for a large mound away from the present ice artists and digs her hands into the snow, a bit surprised by the feeling of it. “It's been a long time since I've seen or felt snow. I forgot how cold it was....”
Lewa chuckles, starting to create a mound of snow, patting it down and getting help from Venimbus who tosses some at his chest plate, the two chuckling and getting each other with snow as they make two big mounds.
As they laugh and play in the snow, only partially blending with the evergreen trees, the other carvers glance at each other, the Agori shaking his head and muttering, “Airheads...” The Ko Matoran rolls his eyes and gets back to work without added comment.

Venimbus and Lewa experiment at snow sculpture, using bark chunks and sticks as their carving tools, their hands getting cold from the snow as they work, catching on fairly quickly.
Lewa is the first to get down his sculpture, looking at Venimbus who pauses to admire it. “It's uh.....gukko, right?” she asks to make sure. Lewa nods, smirking and looking at her sculpture which appears to be a large cone shape she's wedging leaves into.
“Uh...Venimbus, what are you making?” Lewa asks in confusion.
“A tree.” she states in a light laugh, Lewa snickering and face palming. “Mata Nui, that's a sneaky sculpture.” he laughs, only laughing harder when Venimbus throws a snowball at his his face, and laughs as Lewa wipes it off.
“All right....Seems we're done with our sculptures, but we still have some time left.” he shrugs.
Venimbus stands back and puts her hands under her cloak to warm them. “Hmm, maybe we can go for a walk. I've never been here before....Last I was in the north was....too long ago to remember. I only know I was rather young at the time.”
Lewa nods, “Yeah, we can go for a walk, maybe find a snack to munch-eat...”

Venimbus smiles and follows Lewa as he tilts his head towards the entrance of Ko Koro, signaling her to follow him.
The two look around, glancing over the icy buildings and admiring the architecture as art, Lewa's stomach needing a snack. He laughs as Venimbus pulls him along with her as she sniffs the cold air, noticing the scent of something sweet.
When she comes to a stop, she and Lewa notice a stand serving an odd frozen sweet that's smooth yet dense, the sign labeled “Frozen Cream”. Venimbus cocks her head and Lewa lifts a brow, “Frozen cream? What in Mata Nui's name is frozen cream?”
Venimbus thinks for a moment, “I believe it's a dessert made from milk. Looks good actually, maybe we should try it.”
Lewa shrugs, nodding, “Yeah, all right.” he agrees, eyeing the frozen cream in an ice bowl a customer walks off with.

Lewa pauses and looks at the menu, reading the description on what the cart sells. “Oh, you were right Venimbus, it's a dessert made from cow's milk, more specifically with the cream of the milk, then sweetened. They have toppings for it, and different flavors.”
“Different flavors?” she questions, looking at the sign, then at the owner. “We're new to frozen cream, any recommendations?”
The frozen cream owner pauses, finding Venimbus's curiosity rather amusing. “In Ko Koro, frozen cream is the one dessert that fits the atmosphere. The dessert was invented here obviously. Currently our best seller is Ko Koro mint sundaes. Our frozen cream is made from mountain cow milk slowly churned in a chilled pot, then hooked to a machine which is cranked by the very cow we get the milk from. While the cream is mixing we add our sugar and a mountain mint that grows like a weed in these parts. We have two kinds of textures for our cream, hard scoops, or soft creamed which is easier to eat.”
Venimbus licks her lips slightly, “What do you put on your Ko Koro Mint sundaes?”
The owner points at the sign, “We add a frozen fruit that compliments the mint, then drizzle it with chocolate.”
Venimbus looks at Lewa, “Think that sounds good? I do.”
Lewa smirks, “If you want to try it, then why not?” he chuckles, setting down payment for two mint sundaes.

The cart owner serves out their dessert in ice bowls and slides it to them with little wood spoons.
As they take their first bites, they look at each other with smiles, liking the taste and making yummy sounds, then laughing at each other, the cart owner smirking at their quirkiness and getting back to work.
Lewa and Venimbus sit down on a bench, Venimbus scooping big spoonfuls of the ice cream into her mouth, suddenly to tense and hold her head, “Oh....ow....” she groans.
Lewa's brow lifts and he looks at her in concern, “You okay?”
Venimbus nods, “Yeah....don't eat this stuff too quickly or you get a headache the way you would when drinking an iced drink.”
“Uh....brain freeze I think is what they call that...” Lewa adds, patting her back lightly with a bit of caution, suddenly sitting very still, and getting very tense when he notices a familiar figure staring at him across the way with a judging gaze and a lifted brow.
Lewa gulps, noticing Kopaka who stopped to observe them silently. “Ugh....” Lewa groans.
Venimbus looks up, “What? What is it?” she wonders edgily.
Lewa shakes his head, “Nothing Venimbus...I, just need to go talk to a friend-brother of mine real quick and I'll be right back.” he says while getting up and walking over cautiously to where Kopaka stands in silence.

“Hello brother...Uh, Tahu has been wondering where you've been.” Lewa states hesitantly, hoping Kopaka doesn't ask him anything about Venimbus.
Kopaka blinks. “I'll be seeing him soon...” he states plainly.
Lewa nods, “Right, just thought I'd let you know....”
Kopaka squints, glancing at Venimbus, then at Lewa, his eyes suspicious and piercing as though he's on to Lewa's secret, but makes no comment. “You didn't need to come here to tell me Tahu wants to meet, I've known.”
Lewa pauses, “Ah...well, no point in grumble-fretting now. A little frozen cream was
worth the trip.”
Kopaka squints, glancing at Venimbus one more time, then turning his back and starting to walk off, a faint smirk showing on his face, Lewa's sharp eyes noticing and causing him to get even more edgy as he heads back over to Venimbus and sits down when Kopaka is out of sight.

“Who was that?” Venimbus questions.
Lewa shakes his head, “A Toa-brother of mine, part of the Toa Nuva team.”
“The Nuva? Aren't you guys considered legends among your people? Or is that a myth?” Venimbus wonders.
“Uh...no, it's not a myth, we're the only Toa who dropped into energized protodermis and came out alive with enhanced power.”
Venimbus nods, “Energized protodermis, that stuff which caused this planet to tear itself apart....Throughout most of history it has been a very destructive thing, yet it seems sometimes good things come from it.” she smiles, hinting a compliment at him.
Lewa grins, finishing his ice cream. “I think it's time to head for the opera house now...It's somewhere near the ice temples in the center of town.”
Venimbus nods and sets her empty bowl to the side, then stands and takes Lewa's arm as they head through the grand archways of snow towards the Nu Ko Koro temple, an echo of tuning instruments faintly ringing from the opera house as they near it.

Already the skies were dimming and the setting sun bathed the area in gold, quickly turning a purple blue as it sinks further down the horizon.
Lewa and Venimbus step through the doors to the opera house which is filled with grandly armored and decorated individuals there to see the show, Lewa and Venimbus slightly out of place, but glad to spot a few water types and even stone types among the many ice types.
Lewa pulls out the tickets, glancing at the poster of Frona on the wall as he hands his tickets to the Agori before the opera room door.
The doors are open for them and they walk in, Venimbus’s and Lewa's eyes widening at the grandeur of the place, sparkling white with gold light from the candles, and accented with silver, dark blues, light blues, a place that seemed as a palace.
Venimbus sits, her eyes fixed on the glistening chandeliers above them, and at the stained glass window on the ceiling that seemed as painted ice.
Lewa's eyes are only fixed on the details of the place for a brief moment before he looks at Venimbus, feeling warmed by her enchanted smile.

As the orchestra almost finishes tuning, and nearly everyone is seated, Lewa whispers in Venimbus's ear, “It's not the first time I've seen Frona. I've never met her at the opera house, but I helped her once many years ago when she was hanging by her foot from a cliff side. She felt she owed me for quick-helping her from what could have been tragic-bad, and for it, she asked we meet her after the opera, backstage.”
Venimbus gets a face of surprise, “We get to meet the singer?”
Lewa nods with a smile, finding the past can catch up with you and result in good things sometimes. 


Suddenly the lights are dimmed with covers and the sounds of people talking comes to a stop as the announcer comes on the stage, clearing his throat. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Ice Opera House. We welcome you with sincerity and hope you enjoy this month's opera, She Came From the Sky, performed by the lovely, and talented singer, Frona Glasgel. Please remain silent during the play, exits are on either side of the theater, enjoy the show.” he bows, leaving again as the curtains open and the play begins.
Lewa and Venimbus watch the play contently, impressed by the acting and staying quiet for the next two hours.
At the very end of the play comes the final song, the finale everyone came to see, and Venimbus practically holds her breath in awe as Frona sings for the crowd with a humble gaze, looking like a princess in her costume and taking in a deep breath after carrying the last note before the curtain closes and the crowd claps with enthusiasm.

Lewa and Venimbus stand, Venimbus looking thrilled and happy as Lewa tilts his head towards a side door Frona told him to enter through to the backstage.
Lewa is quick about slipping through the door, not wanting anyone to make wild assumptions or send guards after them in misunderstanding. Venimbus gets the hunch that's why he's holding her hand firmly and moving like a sugar buzzed toddler.
When they get back stage, Lewa slinks around in search of Frona, spotting her as she heads through the door of the dressing room and following close behind. “Hello Frona.” Lewa states in haste to get her attention.
Frona pauses and sets her glass of water down. “Toa Lewa, good to see you again....Who's your friend?” she wonders, peeking at Venimbus who stands behind Lewa patiently.
“Ah, this is Venimbus.” he nods, nudging Venimbus who waves hello and smiles. “You  were lovely.” she says in genuine appreciation. “It's my first time to an opera, so I'm quite surprised.”
Frona smiles, “First times tend to be the best. Thank you for coming, it's nice to see new, and familiar faces. Now don't get me wrong, I am flattered by your compliments, but as one of the main singers I do feel there's more talented voices they could have chosen for the  lead singer of She Came From the Sky.”
Venimbus gets a puzzled look. “You mean there's someone else who can perform that well?”
Frona nods, “Yes, a certain female sonics type with a voice so pure you'd think she was granted a gift from the great beings. Unfortunately, she has sensitive hearing and hasn't yet been able to afford sound barrier cuffs to put over her ears so she can sing for a crowd in comfort. The owner of the Ice Opera House is also fearful of having her sing because when she nears high keys impossible for the average vocalist, the building tends to shake or vibrate, and the owner fears she could shatter the columns of the place. She's still fine tuning her ability, one day I hope she makes it to a lead role where she deserves to be.”
Venimbus nods, “Shame I will probably not be back here for many years, but I can imagine it will be grand when this friend of yours perfects her ability.”
Frona nods and glances at Lewa, “So, is Lewa your handsome prince charming?”
Venimbus squints, “In a way....Why?”
Frona shrugs, “Well, it's good to see a Toa like him finally met someone he's interested in. He has a big heart, but where he has heart, he lacks a strong mind.”
Lewa snorts and gets a sour face.
“I'm joking....maybe.” Frona states nonchalantly. “I invited you back here so I could properly thank you for that day you kept me from falling into a bed of icy rocks, dangling above death. That day actually led to me writing my own play which they carried out here. The title was Dangling Above Death, and I half reenacted parts of the story that actually happened, but since we couldn't get an air type to come to the Ice Opera House as an actor to represent you, we settled with Gelu as the hero of the story.”
Lewa blushes slightly, “You wrote a play based off that day? That's...strange-odd but rather interesting.” he nods.
Venimbus gets a jealous look, but then out of the corner of her eye, notices Frona is staring at Gelu who passes by, her eyes holding a vibrancy Venimbus knows all too well, one of love for another.

Frona nods and looks back at Lewa. “That day led to me being here in a way. I liked the sound of echoes in the mountains, practiced with my own voice and discovered I could get by just fine in a place where people come to hear the power of the voice. It's been an interest five years; there's even talk about certain artists wanting to make mural books with text....a...what did they call it? Graphic novel? Themed around certain life events in my past. It's kind of strange, somewhat flattering, but awkward. Of course the writers wish to elaborate and adjust the stories to be thrilling.” she shrugs. “But enough about me, I'm glad to see your life has taken good turns and that you're still alive, and to repay you, I've taken the payment off your tickets.” she smiles, handing him a small bag of return pay from the manager of the Opera house. “Being a well liked vocalist has it's advantages in some ways.”
Lewa looks at the bag of repay and hesitates, not feeling right to take it, but knows ice types can be as stubborn as fire types, “I....don't require repay.”
Frona sighs, “As any Toa would say. Think of it this way, the repay is a compliment so you can buy your lovely lady something that will last longer than a one night ticket at the opera house for two.”
Lewa blushes again, seeing her logic and noticing Venimbus's relieved, and content face at Frona's words. He nods and finally takes the repay, slipping it away and smirking at Venimbus who makes her own statement. “So, do you happen to have the eye of anyone? You have a loveliness too after all.”
Frona looks down for a moment, “At this time I'm unsure, but I do like someone...someone I work with.”
Venimbus nods, knowing what she means and not carrying the conversation further for sake of privacy.

As the ladies talk, Lewa notices a familiar figure slip past in the background towards a utility room. He squints, waiting to see who comes out, his eyebrows lifting high when he sees it's Kopaka. “Kopaka?” he mutters in utter surprise.
Frona pauses from her conversation with Venimbus, noticing Lewa's sudden bafflement. “Is Kopaka a friend of yours?”
Lewa twitches and glances back at her, “Yeah....he's one of my teammates, a member-friend of the Toa Nuva. You know him?”
Frona hesitantly nods. “I don't exactly know him directly, but I'm familiar with his name and work position here.”
“Work position?” Lewa questions in surprise.
“Yes, Kopaka is the security guard and foundations officer of the opera house.” Frona explains.
“Foundations officer?” Lewa questions with a lifted brow.
“A foundations officer is someone who watches over the rope men and guys who work in the mechanics above the stage. People who create the special effects above have a risky job. Kopaka is there to make sure they secure everything properly, and don't fall.” Frona shrugs.
Lewa smirks, “Oh....Hehehe, a security guard and special effects guardian. Never thought I'd sight-see the Toa of slush in a place like this.” he chuckles.
“If you know him, perhaps you should catch up with him.” adds Frona.
Lewa pauses, his nose scrunching as he has second thoughts to that idea and knowing full well that if he goes to talk with Kopaka about his job, Kopaka will return questions about his relationship with Venimbus, the two Toa having ammo against each other. Lewa shakes his head, “Ah...I better not, we already talk-spoke outside before coming here, and he doesn't like length-long conversations.”
Frona nods, “Then you best get your lady home, it's getting late, and it's not easy to travel through the mountains at night.”
“Yes, you're right.” Lewa agrees. “Come on Venimbus, best head out while we can. It was great-nice to see you one more time, Frona. Have a nice evening.” he nods, heading out with Venimbus holding his arm.
“Farewell Toa of air.” Frona says in a soft, chilled tone.

Lewa and Venimbus travel back through the evening snow, looking at the stars as they walk, their dreams big and hopes high.
“I crave-hope the Agori got his cart running.” Lewa sighs.
Venimbus nods, tugging his arm when she sees the iron Agori and his cart outside Ko Koro's gates.
Lewa comes over to him. “Hey, did you get the cart warmed?”
The Agori shakes his head, “She only warmed enough to make it to the gate. Without a good boost I can't get her to kick start.”
Lewa looks down and paces in brief thought, muttering about needing a kick start before snapping his fingers and looking back up. “I have an idea. Venimbus can get on the cart, I'll sit on top and create a sail with the tarp, then while I summon a large-big wind to push the cart, you steer.”
The Agori squints, thinking about it for a moment, then smirking. “That might just work.”
Lewa grins and helps the confused Venimbus onto the cart, then climbs on top and ties himself on after creating a quick sail. “Ready?”
The Agori lifts the breaks and gives a thumbs up, his eyes widening when Lewa brings a wind gust their way, the cart being pushed along the snow at a rather quick speed and he steers down the winding road of the mountain till they reach a hill, the ride smooth from there and the engine warmed enough to work on its own.

Eventually the group reach the main jungle path, the iron Agori getting very twitchy and refusing to stay in the area any longer when he sees the sun is almost gone, driving off for the nearest lit village.
Lewa lifts a brow, “What in Mata Nui was wrong with him?” he wonders in confusion.
Venimbus shakes her head, not wanting to talk about it. “We need to get home now. The jungle is dangerous at night. We best go to the nearest lit village and stay there at possible rental huts till morning.”
Lewa gives her a puzzled face, getting the hunch she knows something about why the Agori was so spooked, but for the sake of saving sleep, doesn't ask many questions and the two jog towards the same village the Agori drove off to, and rent their own little huts for the night.
Lewa dreams about his evening, his mind filled with many questions he knew would have to wait.
By morning, Venimbus is already gone from the village by the time Lewa wakes, and he knows it will probably be a few weeks again till he can see her.


Wondrous Winter Waning

Lewa's chances to meet Venimbus again weren't as long as he suspected, one week into January and he's already at her doorstep to see if she's home. He had checked the week before, but had no luck, finding she wasn't there, much to his confusion.
But here he was again, peeking through her tree house window with hopeful eyes, his heart starting to sink when he doesn't see her, but notices odd decorations in the home.
Just as he starts to turn around and leave, there Venimbus stands with a basket full of feathers and a few odd objects, her sudden appearance startling Lewa who flinches and lightly gasps before holding his chest and chuckling. “Venimbus....hello.”
Venimbus pats his head and opens her door. “Come in Lewa.” she says in a light, happy tone.
Lewa gets himself together and stands tall, following her in and getting a closer look at the place. “What's with the strange-odd decorations?”
Venimbus sets her basket on the table, sorting through the feathers. Well, they're part of another Junti tradition. This is the month of the snow moon, the specific celebration day is near the end of the month and we call that day Frost wane.”
Lewa cocks his head and sits down, looking at the feathers, “So...what's with the feathers, and how does this celebration work?”
Venimbus chuckles at Lewa's curiosity. “All right, I'll let you in on the fun. The month of snow moon and the day of Frost Wane are to celebrate a good year coming to a close before a new year begins. In some parts of the jungle it can get rather chilly, and there was a time when famine almost took the land because of an odd frost that nearly killed all the plants. During that time the villagers sought refuge with others who weren't affected by the frost famine, and when they told what was going on, people started to store foods and share, feeling sorry about the bare areas of the jungle from which these villagers came. The chiefs of the tribes came together, and agreed to help those of famine pull through.
To make up for the lack of color and plants these villagers longed for, a group of Junti craftsmen came together and wove large cone shapes with branches out of dried vines. On these vine cones the height of a Glatorian, they wrapped assorted feathers, natural and dyed, all around it till it was completely covered, resulting in what looks like a tree, but isn't. From the fake trees they hung sparkly things and colored objects, getting creative and making these hanging objects as trophies to share with each other, family, friends, chiefs. They became interesting gifts of sentiment hung on the tree to brighten ones day. Thus they started calling them trophy trees.
The garland was an extra thing for color and well being, and also an excellent way to store beads, dried nuts, berries, and other assorted foods hung in the window for color and for eating or wearing. It was also used as a sign to frost famine villagers that they were welcome to come in and stay till their land grew back.
Eventually the day came when the villagers returned to their land to find that the frost was waning and their plants hadn't fully died, already starting to come back after three weeks of death. The villagers rejoiced and to return their thanks to those who housed them, they brought gifts, and this became a tradition among all Junti after.
We kept the trees and garland more for decorative purposes after a while, and share gifts on the day of Frost Wane, the day the famine villagers shared gifts in thanks. This is a month we see as a time to celebrate in what we have, rich in food, and in plants, glad we're not in famine. We keep the traditions of Frost wane as a reminder of what can happen, and rejoice in what hasn't happened since. Plus it's a great way to add color to the home since many flowers close during this month and the color’s dim.”
Lewa grins, “So...the feathers you have are for making a trophy tree?”
Venimbus nods. “I wanted to make a better one for my tree house with some natural ornaments.”
Lewa looks at the feathers, “Sounds like joy-fun.”
Venimbus nods and pulls out some dried vines and waxed leather twine. “I'll show you how to make Frost Wane decorations. “We'll start by weaving our cone base with branches. To do this you just need to know how to weave and tightly tie it together with waxed leather thread.”
“Why waxed leather thread?” Lewa wonders.
“Because leather lasts a long time, and the wax preserves it further. Plus we melt the wax a little to better hold the form together, basically it's a type of glue.”
Lewa smirks, watching Venimbus and trying to remember all her instructions.

After a few tries and getting hit in the shoulder by whip lashing dry vine, grumbling and puffing, Lewa finally gets the hang of weaving the cone and helps Venimbus make the trophy tree, enjoying the steps where they thread the feathers onto twine first, then add to the tree base, even adding fake cloth leaves to fill in, then making some basic ornaments and garland to add on top.
When they're done, they stand back and smile at what they made together, Lewa already itching to share this new tradition with his people, knowing they'd enjoy it just for fun.

Venimbus makes instructions for Lewa to follow so he can go home and make his own Frost Wane material, and for a moment she almost hugs him, but refrains from getting too intimate and decides to keep a respectful distance.
After a few more hours of making garland for Venimbus's windows and his own, Lewa must return to his village while Venimbus returns to hers, the two planning on meeting again as soon as possible sometime in the month.
  
LoL Chapter 12- Flight of the Seasons <<previous chapter/next chapter>>