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Monk of Mycology


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The Monks of Mycology, despite the name, were an entirely secular order specializing in the study of fungi. After years of intensive training in finding and identifying mushrooms, the young monks were bonded telepathically to intelligent truffle pigs and sent forth into the world.

The other people with telepathic animals--horses, dragons, birds of prey, wolves and so on--were extremely sarcastic about the whole pig thing. The monks ignored this, for three reasons.

1) Pigs are highly intelligent animals, unlike birds of prey, which are only intelligent about things that matter to birds of prey, and dragons, whose brains can be compared to a homicidal grapefruit.

2) While dragons and wolves are all very impressive in battle, most of the Monasteries of Mycology kept on staff a number of grizzled warriors bonded to thousand-pound battle-boars. An angry sixty-pound wolf is an alarming sight, but a half-ton of enraged boar is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. The Monasteries had no problems whatsoever with security.

This was occasionally important because:

3) White truffles retail for up to $2000 a pound.

This last fact meant that, while people with the charismatic telepathic mammals were off working as mercenaries or hunting guides, the Monks of Mycology tended to retire early and comfortably, and dedicate themselves to philanthropy, gardening, radish-collecting, or anything else that amused them, while their pigs led a pampered existence in heated sheds attached to the house.


I started this painting in late 2006, about the same time as the Wizard of Tea painting, and finally was in a mood to finish it. Three and a half years is probably the longest I've ever gone before finishing a piece, and I found out that most of my sketchwork on the original was wrong and needed tweaking, but it seemed like a shame to waste all those carefully painted mushrooms, and hey, who doesn't love a telepathic truffle pig? (All the mushrooms are real species, if memory serves.)

Prints are available for $10 and $20 (much less than truffles!) plus shipping at Red Wombat Studio: [link]
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Skaramine's avatar
A 600 pound buddy with tusks is always more impressive than a 60 pound wolf. :D