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MOCM Pageant 3 - Motke

If blackness comes, let it take me. Let no more the fires burn, the pillars tumble, the crows beat wings of wild ink against the steel-grey sky.

They were called Sleepers - left comatose for months and years on end to Dream the endless Dream, call forth the future to the present, and let all be forewarned. They were called Sleepers - perchance to dream, but in that sleep like death, what Dreams may come - there's the rub. They were called Sleepers - and he wasn't one. Not really.

For nigh on one hundred years, the name had been known by the Northern Sleepers of Juxtana and Syranon - and how could it not? That name would be the harbinger of blackness, of death, of chaos, of famine and war. That name would bring those two cities to their knees, and it would show them no mercy.

For nigh on one hundred years, they knew, and they prepared, but they were consigned to their fates. They would not move to change to the future they had been foretold by their Dreams and the Dreams of those who came before them. Instead, they told tales, stretched him beyond life, made him the monster they needed him to be, sending the children cowering and cringing in fear lest Avishai, the Southern Demon, reach out from his nest in the sand and strike them down.

For nigh on one hundred years, they lived in fear.

Avishai. Southern Demon. Hooves striking sparks at every step, backswept horns twisting through a riot of black curls, and claws to tear the children open, hang them up to tan in the mottled sunlight in the ruins after.

Avishai. Progeny of the Dark Horsemen. More the King's own shadow than the legal heir. More his father's son than the crown prince. Dark of hair, of skin, of heart. A sad child, but strong.

Avishai. Unwanted. Cast off. Derelict. Untamed. Wild in thought and mischievous in deed, but never cruel. Never evil. Never unkind. Lonely. Brilliant.

His sister's mother had wed the King when his brother's mother had died in childbirth. And his sister's mother had murdered his own to place all the heirs under her thumb. And she had hated him.

To keep them safe, his father, the King, had sent Gyver, the eldest and the heir, into the military and the Sleeper program, engineering by science what their enemies had done by genetics. They had tried the same with Motke, but the chemicals to put them under had failed him - for Gyver they were release; for Motke, they were poison.

And while his brother Slept and Dreamed, Motke Dreamed but never Slept. The Dreams twisted his own, lowercase dreams, perverted them into half-ramblings, half-prophecy he could never remember come morning. Terrors came. Black, creeping terrors the likes he could never explain while he was awake, while he was lucid. But he screamed. He sobbed and howled. And nothing and no one could fix it.

Blackness, he prayed for blackness. He prayed constantly for blackness, for sweet and silent oblivion to thief him away from the waking world, to let him rest in peace, to give him solace and silence in spades. But no blackness came, not that didn't creep and swallow him whole and send him screaming anew.

Time, time tempered everything, as it does. A few years, and the terrors were less frequent but still blood-curdling, still chilling, still weekly.

And then the bargain came.

Where his sister's mother had hated him, he had returned the favor in kind. He had stood for years, balking her guiding hand. They had sent him away to study, to keep him from her heavy hand. But he returned simply more brilliant, more defiant than ever. And then his father died. And his sister's mother planned a war.

And he hated her all the more.

The bargain came soon after. He would help her - help her slaughter countless souls - to save his own people, the Promised People, still waiting to return to Canaan all these millennia later. He would help her to save his own, and to mark his soul Unclean.

Treif, treif. Lo tirtzach! לֹא תִרְצָח

The cities fell. The bombers came, and not a wink of light on any radar marked their passing. The bombs fell. The fires burned. And Avishai ran like the boy he was.

The terrors slowed after that. So few came as to be a nearly yearly occurrence. But sleep was hard for him. Because what Dreams came was no longer the question. He knew there were other ways out. The scars on his wrists mocked him as he worked himself to exhaustion every night to keep nightly visitations from his subconscious to a minimum.

To die, to sleep, no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep; to sleep, perchance to dream - He didn't Dream.


Motke's had night terrors ever since he was a young boy and his dad (the king) and MacMallon (the king's uh...... It's Complicated) schemed to get him away from the crazy Second Wife (Corellia) who was using the heirs as pawns. 99% of the population responds appropriately to the chemical cocktail they pump into them to manufacture Sleepers. Motke's part of the 1% that gets anaphylaxis and (because he was so young) effed up dreams, among other symptoms.

The theory, after his life has stopped Hitting the Fan, is that the terrors were pre-traumatic stress, an echo of the PTSD he'd have later in life. For a while, after the cities fell, the terrors levelled out again. But they returned after he was dragged kicking and screaming back to the capitol to continue the war Corellia so dearly wanted.

Motke is devoutly Jewish (yep. even in my millennia-away sci-fi story, there's Jews. ), and has a tendency to write on walls. The Hebrew all over the place is the first 14 verses of Lamentations ( אֵיכָה‎‎, or Eikhah for those playing along with the Ketuvim or Tanakh at home ), because that is the sort of thing he would do one day in a fit of "I hate everything, oh Blessed and Merciful God, what have I done" and similar emotes.

Aaaand, that's pretty much all there is for it.

Blatant Shakespeare (HAMLET!!) reference there at the end, because Motke secretly is the Dane. XD;


For round 3 of #MFCG's MOCM Pageant - SLEEPWEAR! :D Motke doesn't sleep if he can help it. He just passes out wherever wearing whatever. XD;

Calligraphy - [link] was my source (guh, the english on that is a god-awful translation - like reading sandpaper D: ) [link] provides a decent English translation (I prefer my NRSV, but you try finding that on the internet anywhere legible e_e; ); Roughly 8 hours of Speedball Superblack Permanent via calligraphy pens

Inks - Roughly 2 hours - Washes of Higgins black non-permanent via brushes - silhouettes just straight non-perm ink. :heart:

Motke & the towers - Roughly 10 hours - Liquitex Basics Acrylics (god I'm cheap) via brushes.

Totally worth it. :heart:

Motke, art (c) *ixris (that's mee~ee! )
Shakespeare owns Hamlet.

I'm such an agnostic. I love it.

Thanks to my Photoshop Hero for restoring the color balance. :heart: ~unyko :heart:

This is a companion piece to this one:
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© 2011 - 2022 ixris
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Dracogrex's avatar

remember when i was twelve and i was like MOTKE all the time well i am still like that.

As far as critique goes, what Indy said about perspective. His upper torso also looks a wee bit skinny, but that might also just be lack of food, haha. But yeah, your composition is gorgeous; I would get the upper right hand corner honest to god tattooed on my body if I thought ink could convey the gorgeous watercolor thing that's happening in the sky. Me gusta :BB
ixris's avatar
X3 Ilu.

I disagree about the torso-too-skinny thing. If you look at someone from the side, the width of their chest is going to be just a weeeeee bit bigger than the width of their arm. There's a bit of a twist going on in here, too, pulling the far shoulder away from you. I'll keep an eye on it for next time, though. :) Try to find a happy medium. :heart:

I've actually seen VERY impressive things people can do with tattooing ink in replicating certain aspects of traditional media. If you're serious, I'd say look around, see what you can find. :) :heart: And thank you. <3

:hug: X3
indyana's avatar
Wow, it is wonderful, L! I really love your work with ink, and this is no exception. The top-right quadrant is my favorite part of the piece. <3 The washes and textures there are beautiful. The light spot draws the eyes up and out across the cityscape (ex-cityscape XD).

Getting a bit more critical, the perspective on the computer hardware is a bit off. Some of the lines aren't quite parallel, so the pieces end up looking lopsided. I'd sketch in some guidelines with a ruler and/or protractor when working with machinery. The detailing on the back of the bottom CPU is wonderful! It gets undermined by the uneven edges. Also, the line for the join between the wall and floor actually undercuts the computer components. It would need to be raised higher or angled so it's closer on the left and runs back to the right in order to give room for Motke to be leaning back over the computers. Right now, the monitor would have to be a cardboard cut out because there is no room left for depth behind it. ;) Also, his leg would need to be amputated partway down. XD
ixris's avatar
:heart:! Thank you~! Yeah, the bright spot is my favorite bit of it, too. :)

I actually had drawn guides on um. EVERYTHING. But the nature of my hands and the paint is that this is pretty much the best I could do with the skills I have right now. Hopefully while I improve, I'll get better. :)

As for the floor and depth problems - yeah, I noticed them after everything was dry and set. :facepalm: There was really very little I could do to mitigate it at that point. :\ Aside from, y'know, accept it, move on, and try again later.

Thank you, as always, for the awesome feedback! :heart: I feel like I'm learning with every piece I make, and your feedback (especially when it's the exact thing I'm telling myself about a piece) lets me know that what I think I need to fix is really something I do need to work on. :heart:
indyana's avatar
Haha, I do that all the time too. I work and work on something for hours, get it finish and set, and then notice something blatantly wrong with it. XD I think "better luck next time" is a good reaction to that...
ixris's avatar
My elementary/middleschool art teacher had a phrase for it that he loved to jam down our throats: "Accept it, and MOVE ON." Once I watercolored something I was fantastically proud of, and one of the older classes set their piece to dry ON TOP of mine, and what was supposed to be a garden of pink roses then had a GIANT black smear across it. Oh, I was so mad. -__- But I always think back to that when I find something wrong with a piece after I'm finished, and I'm never so mad anymore afterwards. :) Lol.
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