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jflaxman's avatar

Shaft Diver

    The megacity of Azarloth forms a vast sarcophagus around a slowly dying world. As its rulers raise new spires and drive tunnels deeper underground others fall into disuse and decay. Large tracts are inhospitable, home to life forms as alien as those once found in remote caves or abyssal ocean depths. In others sentient beings survive but their cultures have grown stranger still.

    Where higher civilisation endures so does the fight against entropy: a hopeless struggle, to be sure, but one all the braver for it. Its servants toil endlessly, seeking to excise the rot that gnaws their city’s ancient bones. Some live in near-total darkness, guided only by instinct and the faint luminescence they exude. Many are prematurely lost, but their continued sacrifice buys their overlords more time.

    Shaft divers are biomechanical constructs that descend great distances to work in restricted spaces. They hang head downwards, improving their field of view, and carry a range of specialised tools. Two heavy cables link them to machines that raise and lower them, while their leg cams allow finer adjustments and reduce the shock of acceleration or braking. Their masks counter toxic fumes and their hard shells offer some protection from sharp objects, burns and falling debris.

    On returning to their maintenance dens, these creatures have shown signs of contact with other forms of sentient life. Some rise from the lightless depths marked with esoteric runes, adorned with simple jewellery, or trailing embalmed fetuses, while others emerge maimed or killed. Some have been sent back with gifts or warnings of retribution, and at times these are returned in a more exotic form. What can be gathered from these acts only raises further questions, and speaks of greater mysteries than the ruling castes dare recognise.
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© 2013 - 2021 jflaxman
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KingOvRats's avatar
I love the backstory as well as the atmosphere of this piece.
DMT-07's avatar
When H.R. Giger grows up, I suspect he wants to be you.
Praxian's avatar
These are so fucking cool, reminds me so much of the style of older ID Software games.
linkstering's avatar
It looks like a high tech version of the Engineer from Hellraiser.
Dandabug's avatar
I recently stumbled across this beautiful set of photos and was reminded of the setting for this piece. Enjoy!
jflaxman's avatar
Thanks for the link! The photos were spectacular and the story behind them was fascinating. The way a glamourous estate fell into disrepute and decay, but in time partially recovered had a particular appeal to me. The building could be seen as a monument to hubris or our almost limitless capacity to adapt to changing times!

I hope you don't mind, but I passed it on. It's gone down very well with some other sci-fi fans. Assuming you haven't already found it, have you seen Dark Roasted Blend? It seems very much your thing...
VICTOX's avatar
Binaryrobot's avatar
JTHMFrAeK's avatar
Love the part of the description that tells us they make contact with other sentient creatures. I think that's really awesome.
Krag7's avatar
something strange is going on with that pipe on the right...
Zandabear15's avatar
clayjase69's avatar
Wow so brilliant
Crzyfetus's avatar
Brilliant as always.
Trollfeetwalker's avatar
That's some superb fluff you've got there. Quite a nice creature design as well.
jflaxman's avatar
Thanks. Sometimes I start with an image and sometimes with a story. In this case both grew more detailed while I was working on the piece.
godofimagination's avatar
Looks Giger-esque.
jflaxman's avatar
That's just what I was going for. Giger was a huge influence when I was in high school, but it's been a long time since I've done anything in a comparable style. You might have seen the shaft drawings he did before his better known biomechanical work - this piece owes something to them too.
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