Jericho Godfinder distracted himself from the altercation ouside his window, by giving a small magical boost to the flowers he kept in his shrine to Tontnam. Things were not looking good since the pushy, eel-like strangers started arriving with their hangers on, and he - like many others of the Spheniscii - were wondering exactly what plans they had in mind for their kingdom.
It was probably the gold they wanted... it was always the gold; that which kept their little subterranean nation solvent, and that which brought stranger after troublesome stranger to the Spheniscii's doorstep throughout their turbulent history. Even the Humans who had (reputedly) Uplifted them turned from benefactor to antagonist the moment they'd realised that the territory they'd ceded to their clients had an unexpected bonus. One that they then decided they needed more than anything else.
The flowers straightened on their stems and opened their petals a little more, though in truth they couldn't have been in better health even if grown in the most luxurious of foreigner hothouses, or in the most perfect season on the homeworld they'd evolved to grow on. Jericho, like nealy all Spheniscii, had that special magical knack with plants - it didn't matter what sort or world they came from, a Spheniscii would soon find out exactly what it needed to make it thrive anywhere. It was said that the Spheniscii could grow cacao trees in a tundra - and that was literally true.
It was gold though, not chocolate trees that made it possible for Jericho's people to keep their autonomy for so long. That freedom did not come without struggle, and he and his kind knew that they could go down as easily as any of the other nations they'd witnessed fall. The Spheniscii were good, resourceful fighters and they were not short of trained warriors but.. the Eel-Mantises, he'd heard some things about them that made him uneasy. Bad things, about the kind of beings they allied with and served, and he didn't like the way they and their friends ignored Spheniscii laws, and pushed his people around in the streets, treating them as if this place already belonged to them..
Jericho shuddered, and tried to focus back on the novel. He needed the credits, and he promised the publisher he'd have it ready for editing by the end of the half-year. It would sell, he could be assured of that - his publishers had good connections accross many worlds and dimensions. Spheniscii literature was in great demand, even earning itself the nickname of 'Our Other Gold', so to speak. Next job, though, he would renegotiate his contract include another kind of story alongside the popular adventure-romances he normally churned out.
Something darker and more allegorical, perhaps. Something that did not nescessarily need to have a happy ending either. Jericho studies the image of Tontnam on the wall of its niche, halo around her head and a fish in her bowl. He offered a silent prayer, but even that did give him a better feeling about the future.
Escape, or slavery ... escape, or slavery.. - without effort, the phrase came to mind. If this time it does come to the worst, Jericho thought, maybe I must write something else soon, a story to help prepare my people for choices that we've never had the need to make before..
My second entry for the current Seventh Sanctum Fantasy Folk contest [Link
], using the fantasy race generator [Link
], using the following result:"The race of sentient penguins. They are famous for their literature. They are exceptionately good at plant magic. They dislike wearing clothes. Their primary deity is a patron of their own race. They barely control an underground kingdom."
Jericho Godfinder's name was generated from a name generator from the same site here [Link
], the penguin deity Tontnam's name was generated from the angel or demon name generator here [Link
]. The name for Jericho's species, Spheniscii, is derived from the current scientific name for the animal family (Spheniscidae) & order (Sphenisciformes) that real-world penguins belong to.
Like the previous one [Link
], I included the Eel-Mantises from an older contest entry [Link
] to help tie the scene into a bigger story (if this is not ok by the contest rules, I'll submit something else and change this to a 'for fun' entry).
The Eel-Mantises, nasty though they can be, are merely the lackeys of far greater & more sinister powers.
Media used: Artline pen, coloured pencil, correction pen & Photoshop Essentials 2