What a supporter Malaquo Maegyr, the current ruling triarch of the Tiger, would wear, Gucci.

Volantis is ruled by there elected officials of the City who are called triarchs, they are neither kings nor princes, and any freeborn landholder, regardless of gender can vote for a triarch, who are chosen from amongst those noble families who can prove unbroken descent from Valyria. A triarch’s term lasts for one year. However, a triarch may run for re-election for the post as many times as they wish. The elections last for ten days at the beginning of each new year, and Volantis becomes filled with torchlight marches, speeches, mummers and minstrels and dancers, bravos fighting duels for the honor of their candidates, elephants with the names of would-be triarchs painted on their sides. Some candidates have slave girls and boys lay with voters to win votes. The triarchs are considered so elevated that their feet are not allowed to touch the ground during their year of service, instead, they ride everywhere atop elephants.

Had time to finish a rather hasty Aria T’Loak portrait! I love her, she’s such a badass, and the Omega DLC was probably one of the best around for the Mass Effect series. While painting this I noticed that some of her features, especially her crest, are a lot softer and not as speckled/freckled as some other Asari. I know that now, and in the past, I wonder if her dad was a Hanar or something. Maybe that’s why she’s purple instead of blue, haha.

Here’s other portraits for the same series: Liara T’Soni , Peebee , Samara , Dr. Lexi T’Perro , Shiala

More info: I decided I would start a little digital painting project to keep me artistically active for a while, so to celebrate the month of May my theme is:

“May-dens, May-trons, and May-triarchs”

I’ll just be painting a whole buncha beautiful blue (and purple… possibly green) Asari from the Mass Effect series!

Next up is a Peebee! I ended up romancing her, haha. As a disclaimer I probably fucked up her subtle facial markings on this, but yeah, I tried. :D

Here’s other portraits for the same series: Liara T’Soni , Samara , Aria T’Loak , Dr. Lexi T’Perro , Shiala

More info: I decided I would start a little digital painting project to keep me artistically active for a while, so to celebrate the month of May my theme is:

“May-dens, May-trons, and May-triarchs”

I’ll just be painting a whole buncha beautiful blue (and purple… possibly green) Asari from the Mass Effect series!

Daenerys and Qarth: Third Time’s the Charm

It’s no secret that Daenerys has a special relationship with the number three. This is most overt in the personal, prophetic and the miraculous aspects of her journey: she is third born, a child of three, comes to possess three dragon eggs/dragons, will light three fires, ride three mounts, suffer three treacheries, and the dragon has three heads. But the number three frequently reoccurs in the more mundane story as well: three hostile khals, three loyal Bloodriders, three Seekers, three unfaithful Pureborn, three (unhelpful) Qartheen trading associations, three Pentosi ships, three attempts to secure an army, three Slaver cities, three Storm Crow commanders, three pickled heads from Mantarys, three surviving Dornishmen, three warlocks in the service of Euron III, three hostile Volantene Triarchs, three Westerosi passengers aboard the Selaesori Qhoran, three thralls to blow the dragon horn for third-born Victarion, and three remaining hostages in the Yunkish camp (as Dany herself bemoans, so many threes). In the more important groups of three a third event or person breaks from the first two. The third Seeker Quaithe actually gives Daenerys helpful advice, the third attempt at gaining an army in Astapor is successful, the third Storm Crow commander turns his cloak, Dany decides to stay and rule the third slaver city, one of her three dragons bonds with her and flies off, and so on.

Now, this special relationship isn’t all that useful when it comes to interpreting the narrative and making predictions. For the most part this is a pattern that reveals itself as the story unfolds, to be enjoyed in hindsight. The number three might be a reoccurring, symbolically important feature of Daenerys’ storyline, but we have little idea how it will reoccur absent heavy foreshadowing, nor how important its manifestations will be to the overall narrative (these details are all locked up in Martin’s head). There is however one case where we actually do have some rather heavy foreshadowing whose narrative importance is fairly obvious once uncovered. This foreshadowing has to do with the fate of Qarth.

Given Dany’s special relationship with the number three, it seems fairly significant that Qarth has three great walls and three great gates that would have to be overcome in order for the city to be captured. It is equally significant that Dany has so far had two formal audiences in which she dressed up in Qartheen fashion, one with the Pureborn and one with Xaro (who in addition to representing the Thirteen was also serving as Qarth’s ambassador). She has also had two personal encounters with Xaro Xhoan Daxos.* A third audience with the Qartheen and a third encounter with Xaro would be the result of Daenerys burning down Qarth’s three gates and sacking the city. The whole city is therefore symbolically setup for her violent return.

*whose name makes him one big walking three, amusingly enough.

Rings of the Free Cities

1. Braavos, known as Braavos of the Hundred Isles, is the greatest and most powerful of the Free Cities, located in a lagoon on the northwestern end of Essos, where the narrow sea and the Shivering Sea meet. There is a stretch of land to the south called the Braavosian Coastland that is claimed by Braavos. The ruler of Braavos is known as the Sealord and it is from the sea that the city’s power and wealth flows. Because was established by former Valyrian slaves, the founders of Braavos vowed that no man, woman, or child in the city should ever be a slave, thrall, or bondsman. This became the First Law of Braavos, engraved in stone on the arch that spans the Long Canal. The city is comprised of a hundred islands linked together by small stone bridges spanning the many canals throughout the city. There are no trees to be found within the city (except in the courts and gardens of the mighty), making Braavos a city of stone architecture and granite monuments. The streets are lined with houses made of grey stone, built so close that they lean upon one another.

2. Pentos is a large port city, and may be one of the most populous of the Free Cities. It lies on the Bay of Pentos off the narrow sea, with the Flatlands plains and Velvet Hills to the east. The city has many square brick towers, controlled by the spice traders. Most of the roofing is done in tiles. Pentos is a city where wealth equals power, ruled over by a prince with a council of magisters. The prince has a mostly ceremonial function while the rich magisters rule. The prince is chosen from the forty families, and presides chiefly over balls and feasts,[3] is carried from place to place in a rich palanquin with a handsome guard and each new year he must deflower two maidens: the maid of the sea, and the maid of the fields to ensure prosperity on land and sea. However, if there is famine or war is lost, the magisters sacrifice the prince and slit his throat to appease the gods, then choose a new prince.

3. Myr is one of the Free Cities. It is known for its lace and its green nectar. The inhabitants of the city are renowned for being great craftsmen. Its main exports are its finished goods, such as its carpets and lace. The best glass comes from Myr; a clear pane is worth its weight in spice. The best far-eyes are also made in Myr, and are as a result known as Myrish eyes. Myr produces gowns made of Myrish lace. The city also has artisans skilled in creating crossbows and carving. Myr sits on the eastern shore of the Sea of Myrth, along the western coast of Essos.

4. Lys, known as Lys the Lovely, is one of the nine Free Cities of Essos. It is a small city clinging to rocks surrounded by stormy seas. Lys is known for the alchemists who work in the city, who are known to make poisons, the strangler and the tears of Lys among them. The people of Lys curl and perfume their hair. Blue eyes are common among the Lyseni and blonde hair is a common trait among those native to Lys. Many Lysene have valyrian features such as the white white-blond hair and purple eyes, as the blood of the old Freehold still runs strong there. Slaves outnumber the freeborn three to one. One of the greatest temples of R'hllor stands in Lys.  

5. Qohor, also known as the City of Sorcerers in folklore, is one of the nine Free Cities located in western Essos. It lies near a great forest, the Forest of Qohor. The city was founded by religious dissidents that abandoned Valyria, rejecting the religious tolerance practiced by the Freehold. It is widely believed that the dark arts, such as divination, blood magic, and necromancy are practiced in Qohor. The Qohorik worship the deity known as the Black Goat, who demands daily blood sacrifice, calves, bullocks, and horses are the animals most often brought before the Black Goat’s altars, but on holy days condemned criminals are sacrificed by the god’s priests; and in times of crisis, the nobility of the city offer their own children to placate the god. The city’s defense is made up entirely of Unsullied. Qohorik artisans are famed. Qohorik tapestries, woven mostly by women and children, are just as fine as those from Myr, though less costly. Exquisiste, yet disturbings, wood carvings can be bought in Qohor’s markets, while Qohorik swords, knives, and armor are superior even to the best castle-forged steel of Westeros. Qohorik blacksmiths have the ability to meld paint in with the metals. Some blacksmiths also preserve the secret of how to reforge Valyrian steel, guarding it jealously.

6. Lorath is one of the Nine Free Cities. It is situated in a group of islands in the Shivering Sea near the northern coast of Essos. Lorath is ruled by a council of three princes. The Harvest Prince is chosen by a vote of all those who owned land on the islands, the Fisher Prince by all those who owned ships, and the Prince of the Streets by the acclamation of the free men of the city. Once chosen, each prince serves for life. The princes continue to sit today, though their titles are purely ceremonial; the true authority now lies in a council of magisters made up of nobles, priests, and merchants. Lorath is accounted as the poorest of the Free Cites, as well as the most isolated. Though possessing a large fleet of fishing vessels, the Lorathi build few warships and have little military power.

7. Tyrosh is a harbor city and one of the Free Cities. It sits on an island to the north of the Stepstones, just off the coast of the Disputed Lands of Essos at the entrance to the harbour sits the Bleeding Tower. The ruler of Tyrosh is called the Archon. He is chosen from among the members of a convlace of the wealthiest and noblest of the city. Tyroshi are renowned for their greed. They constantly fight to gain control of the Stepstones and Disputed Lands.They love bright colors, even coloring their hair brightly. Their inventors are known for creating ornate helmets and ingenious torture devices. Their dialect is a corrupted form of High Valyrian. Slaves and sellswords are common in Tyrosh. It is renowned for its pear brandy, and Tyroshi armorsmiths can make fantastic helmets shaped like birds and animals, chased with precious metals.

8. Volantis, is a city in southwestern Essos, located at the mouth of the Rhoyne on the Summer Sea. It is the oldest and the proudest of the Nine Free Cities. Volantis is the oldest of the Free Cities. It was the first colony of the Valyrian Freehold - her “first daughter”- and still maintains many of its traditions. After the Bleeding Years following the Doom, they considered themselves the heirs to the Freehold and rightful rulers of of the world. The city is divided by the Black Wall. A great oval of fused black stone built two hundred feet high by the Valyrians when Volantis was no more than an outpost of their empire. It protects the oldest part of the city on the eastern shore, often called Old Volantis. It is wide enough for six four-horse chariots to race around its top abreast, as is done each year to celebrate the founding of the city. No outlander, freeman, or foreigner is allowed inside the Black Wall save at the invitation of those who dwell within. Only scions of the Old Blood who can trace their ancestry back to Valyria itself may live within the Black Wall. Volantis is ruled over by three triarchs, each of whom rules for a year. Each year the freeborn landholders of Volantis can elect a new triarch or reelect a current one. There are precious few voters west of the river Rhoyne. The elections are ten days of madness, with much campaigning and bribery.Only those of Old Blood who can trace their ancestry back to Valyria can be a triarch. The triarchs belong to either the elephant or tiger political parties. The elephants are the party of the merchants and moneylenders, while the tigers are old aristocracy and warriors. The elephants advocate trade and the tigers advocate the sword. Volantis is key to the slave market, trading heavily with the cities of Slaver’s Bay to the east. It is said there are five slaves to every free man in the city. Tattooing is very common among the populace. Slave owners tattoo their slaves to prevent theft and to show the slave’s purpose. Tears are tattooed on the cheeks of pleasure slaves; flames on the cheeks of slaves of R'hllor; tiger stripes on the cheeks of the city guard; flies on the slaves who clean up dung;

9. Norvos, called Great Norvos by its people, is one of the nine Free Cities. It lies in the interior of Essos, between Pentos and Qohor. Norvos sits among the Hills of Norvos, it is a land of rolling hills and terraced farms, surrounded by small walled villages that support the larger city. The city is divided into two sections, with the High City on the tallest hill in the region, and the Low City located at the base of the hill by the river. The lower city if full with riverman’s haunts, brothels, and taverns. It is where the lowborn Norvoshi, out of sight of priests, nobles, or soldiers, find entertainment, away from the wind and prayer of the higher city. Bears are known to be made to dance down the Sinner’s Steps. There are three bells throughout the city, each given its own name:Noom having a deep sound, Narrah having a strong sound, Nyel having a higher pitched sound. Norvos is nominally ruled by a High Magister and a council of religious protectors, chosen by the bearded priests. Among the Norvoshi only the bearded priests are allowed beards. The freeborn of the city, both noble or lowborn favor long, unswept mustachios, whilst slaves and women are shaved bare. Norvoshi women shave off all of their hair, though noblewomen don wigs, specially when in company of men from other lands and cities. Norvoshi are known as masters at creating intricate textiles, including fine tapestries that are renowned the world over, and for an annual festival that features bears dancing.

Okay, so if you’re wondering “Who is this Asari?” it’s Dr. Lexi T’Perro! If you didn’t know, she was voiced by Natalie Dormer (an actress I absolutely adore), but the developers made her face just look like every other default Asari they put in the game and I found it extremely lazy considering her voice actress is so beautiful! So, as a result I painted a Lexi with Natalie Dormer’s likeness instead. Dunno if I captured it as well as I’d like, but I like it a lot better than her default look, that’s for sure.

Here’s other portraits for the same series: Liara T’Soni , Peebee , Samara , Aria T’Loak , Shiala

More info: I decided I would start a little digital painting project to keep me artistically active for a while, so to celebrate the month of May my theme is:

“May-dens, May-trons, and May-triarchs”

I’ll just be painting a whole buncha beautiful blue (and purple… possibly green) Asari from the Mass Effect series!

Men’s Lives Have Meaning, Part 2: Give Your Bride a Kiss For Me

Part 1 here

“Pirates could happen to anyone.”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Shot of Doran at his cyvasse board, eyes burning. 

DORAN: Vengeance.

He takes Arianne’s hand. 

DORAN: Justice. 

Close-up on his fist, as he unravels it to place an onyx dragon in her palm.

Cut to Volantis. We zoom out on Quentyn’s face. 

His eyes are bloodshot. 

His hands are trembling. 

His friends are dead. 

He’s going to die. 

He knows it. 

DORAN: (in voiceover) Fire and Blood. 

As his opening move in Quentyn’s storyline, GRRM elects to rip a gigantic hole in it, disorienting the reader along with the protagonist right from the start. Quent’s first chapter in ASOIAF is not set in Yronwood, where his story “should” begin; nor is it set in Sunspear, receiving his mission from his father; nor is it set in Planky Town, as he sets out on his quest. It is set in Volantis, after Team Quent has already passed through all those others. Why structure it this way? Why open the story on what really ought to be the fifth or sixth chapter? So GRRM could start said story like this:

Adventure stank.

It’s the most meta moment in the series’ most meta storyline. Indeed, it’s a huge sick hilarious fourth-wall-breaking (and heartbreaking) joke, once you know how this story ends. But it’s also Quentyn’s story in miniature. Even more than, say, “he drank his way across the narrow sea,” the opening line of “The Merchant’s Man” throws down a gauntlet for the reader, setting the tone for the rest of the storyline. This adventure is not empowering or exciting or, indeed, successful. This adventure stinks. And what does it stink of?

She boasted sixty oars, a single sail, and a long lean hull that promised speed. Small, but she might serve, Quentyn thought when he saw her, but that was before he went aboard and got a good whiff of her. Pigs, was his first thought, but after a second sniff he changed his mind. Pigs had a cleaner smell. This stink was piss and rotting meat and nightsoil, this was the reek of corpse flesh and weeping sores and wounds gone bad, so strong that it overwhelmed the salt air and fish smell of the harbor.

It stinks of death, that winged chariot which has already visited Quent’s quest before we even meet him, the maw waiting for him at quest’s end. Quent’s death is so horrific you can smell it a book away. It haunts his entire story from the very first words. It’s the end result of every twist of the plot, every decision Quent makes, rendering the experience of reading Quent’s arc the equivalent of watching a dog-eared storybook set suddenly on fire. 

For even before we enter Quentyn’s story, his best friend (Cletus Yronwood) and two of his other companions (Willam Wells and Maester Kedry) are dead, killed in a corsair attack. So the quest is broken before it starts. It’s already all gone wrong, and we have no experience of Quent’s story before that happens. Quentyn’s fantasy tale has torn off its mask and revealed itself as a horror story, and the trapdoors just keep opening up beneath him, falling closer to the fire with each drop. This is a Hero’s Journey in which the Refusal of the Call was absolutely correct, which in and of itself constitutes a radical reshaping of how this sort of story is supposed to go. 

Keep reading

I decided I would start a little digital painting project to keep me artistically active for a while, so to celebrate the month of May my theme is:

“May-dens, May-trons, and May-triarchs” 

I’ll just be painting a whole buncha beautiful blue (and purple… possibly green) Asari from the Mass Effect series!

Started off with my favorite blue space waifu, Liara T’Soni.

Here are some of the other portraits from this series: Peebee , Samara , Aria T’Loak , Dr. Lexi T’Perro , Shiala

Here’s a Samara portrait. She’s def one of my faves from the Mass Effect trilogy, and I loved her story arc, being torn between her duty as a justicar and the unconditional motherly love she held for her daughters.

Here’s other portraits for the same series: Liara T’Soni , Peebee , Aria T’Loak , Dr. Lexi T’Perro , Shiala

More info: I decided I would start a little digital painting project to keep me artistically active for a while, so to celebrate the month of May my theme is:

“May-dens, May-trons, and May-triarchs”

I’ll just be painting a whole buncha beautiful blue (and purple… possibly green) Asari from the Mass Effect series!

Last Asari portrait I wanted to make time for before May was over was Shiala the Asari Commando! She starts out as a purple-skinned Asari, but her time under the control of the Thorian eventually turns her skin green in the sequel games, so she looks much like the Thorian-made clones you encounter of her in Feros in the first game. 

Here’s other portraits for the same series: Liara T’Soni , Peebee , Samara , Aria T’Loak , Dr. Lexi T’Perro  

I will probably make an image post to compile them all together for viewing ease now.

Anyhow, I think this about concludes the Asari series I wanted to do. I have a few more unrelated portraits of some RPG OCs I want to get around to eventually, but I wanna thank y’all for liking and sharing all of these Asari paintings for my “May-dens, May-trons, and May-triarchs” series this May. It means a lot to me that you like this stuff! :D 

What the Widow of the Waterfront would have worn in her youth, Anita Dongre

The widow of the waterfront is a very old woman who runs several docks, piers and shipping lanes in a section of western Volantis. She was once a former pleasure slave taught the ways of the seven sighs in Yunkai. She was purchased by a Triarch of Volantis named Vogarro, who later fell in love with her and freed her, raising a great scandal amongst the nobility by marrying her. Vogarro owned piers, storehouses, brokered cargoes, changed money and insured shipowners against the hazards of the sea and when he died thirty-two years ago she took over his business. She had to sell his manse because no freedman may live within the Black Wall in eastern Volantis, where only those with blood tracing back to Old Valyria may live. She took up residence at the Merchant’s House west of the Rhoyne. The aristocracy of eastern Volantis refer to her as Vogarro’s whore, though not to her face.

Stone men are people inflicted by greyscale in the area known as the Sorrows. They are known to congregate on the Bridge of Dream. Thrice each year the triarchs of Volantis send a galley upriver to feed the ones afflicted, but many of the crew often succumb to the disease themselves. Their leader is believed to be the Shrouded Lord.

The Shrouded Lord, also known as His Grey Grace and the Prince of Sorrows, is a mysterious figure. Many say his is just a legend. He spreads greyscale through the grey kiss, although he does not bestow his kiss lightly. According to some rumors, he is thought to be Prince Garin himself, risen from his watery grave. Others believe that there have been numerous Shrouded Lords, and when one dies another one takes his place; the one currently holding the title is a corsair from the Basilisk Isles. there is yet another version of the tale, in which the Shrouded Lord was a statue at first, and a grey woman from the fog kissed life to it with lips as cold as ice. They say the Shrouded Lord will grant a boon to any man who can make him laugh.