In this chapter I introduce three characters to my new world that is not quite Bionicle and not quite anything else. As always with my Technic builds, YOUR COMPLAINTS ARE REVERED AND APPRECIATED - and I’m not being sarcastic. The first part of this strange chronicle can be found here:
Quick summers, temperate winters, and a very long autumn… that was how the calendar should work. This poor place simply had not worked it out- its thermostat had been set long ago to “Deep Freeze”.
Making plans to insulate his mask when he had the time and a warm room to work in, Albertus the Beginner marched onward against the pestilent wind. Not pestilent, obviously - this air was too cold for any disease to foul up – but irritating nonetheless. Occasionally, its whistling rose into a unnervingly deep-voiced howl, and often the traveler reminded himself that local superstitions concerning an ice monster were only superstitions.
The fact was, Albertus was not at all at home in this region. He had recently walked far to the north of his usual beat to avoid a force of Plague Troopers, and was not enjoying it.
At long last the falling snow parted to reveal an irregularity on the horizon, and Albertus inwardly shrieked with joy at the sight of civilization. He altered his pace accordingly.
Closer to, the sharp-witted walker experienced second thoughts on the potential comfort of the local inn. Not many towns this far from the main roads had places for travelers to stay – they simply couldn’t keep in business. Taverns, public houses, bars, and other places of alcohol and comfort were a staple of any community, but when places like this hung out flamboyant signs to advertise their travelers’ resting places, it was all too often because they made their profits by ensuring that it was, rather, a travelers’ final resting place.
The wind howled, and he knocked anyway.
“Ho ho… hello! Welcome to the Sign of the Checkers. Does sir have a retinue, and does sir intend to stop for lunch or take a room? We have just three beds left; very affordable, sir, five-and-eight a night.”
Albertus was greeted by an exuberant dwarf with impressive salesmanship qualities, namely referring to all potential customers by honorifics such as “sir” or “ma’am” and using the wrong person in his speech.
“Three beds? Do you have many other guests?” he questioned the innkeeper, looking for clues as to the possibly murderous nature of the establishment.
The dwarf sighed. “Many others? Sir, this is the height of the season. You are lucky to find any beds.”
Albertus took in the common room. It was brightly-lit and quite clean. One corner held a thick-walled stone dispensary; in another sat a polished desk at dwarf height. Even the nearest table was immaculate, which revived the newest guest’s caution.
“I don’t see any of the other lodgers here. What keeps them during the day?” he inquired nonchalantly. The dwarf looked curiously at the armored visitor.
“I take it sir is not a hunter?”
“Hunter? Of what?”
“That explains it. My other guests are hunters of the yeti; noblemen mostly, they come with weapons and horses swathed in blankets and ride around seeking the great beast. Surely you have heard the stories? It howls by day and roams by night. In the morning, its footprints are found below the windows. Some who seek it never-”
Albertus held up a placating hand.
“I am not after the yeti. I will take lunch, though.”
The traveler took a seat, and his host and hostess busied themselves setting out the standard meal with a cup of a brown, steaming, bittersweet drink. Then they excused themselves upstairs, citing a number of rooms that needed cleaning, and Albertus, who took his vitality very seriously, rummaged in his bag for a poison-detection kit. He had not unstoppered the first vial when he was unexpectedly hailed by a vaguely familiar voice.
Before Albertus could stand, the young woman sat down across from him.
“The sun. A lot of snowclouds. Various other celestial objects. I didn’t expect to see you here, Lir.”
Most people who knew Albertus treated his literal answers to that one particular question with exasperation or some related emotion. Lir, strangely, responded with a brief laugh.
“I didn’t expect to see you, either. What are you doing so far north? I thought you were still living in Dryton.”
“I’ve been wandering for a while now. The Plague Troop is passing through North Arad, and, with my armor so closely resembling theirs, I decided not to be tried as a deserter. And you?”
“Oh, I’m on my way back from Lostren,” she answered. “Not a very exciting trip.”
Lostren, a city of elves. Lir certainly had the look of one, but Albertus had never been sure, although he had never noticed that often.
“You’re elvish, then?”
“Mostly.” The short, happy little laugh returned. “Except my great-granddad. No one was really sure about him.”
Albertus absorbed the information, but an equal part of his conscious was examining the laugh. Provincials thought that all elves were mysterious, noble, and full of songs and laughter, but Albertus had met a few and found them to be more or less the same as humans or dwarves. They lived longer and were ever-so-slightly more somber than most people when they ventured into human-dominated Arad, but that was it. This trait had to be purely Lir.
“Are you going to look for a yeti while you’re here?”
“Sorry? Oh, no. I’m heading on to Hotspot this afternoon,” said Albertus.
“Hotspot… is that on the way to Dontlesburg?”
Albertus reviewed his mental map, his ever-useful reward for staring at geographical charts for hours on end to conquer his lack of any directional sense.
“Yes, I would say that’s a pretty direct route.”
“Great. Do you mind if I join you?”
“Sure. It will be nice to have the company.”
This agreed and the food consumed, the diners gathered their respective gear, paid the innkeeper, and set out into the wind more contentedly than either would have been alone.
Name: Lirael “Lir” d’Savy
Element: Again, wrong world for that sort of thing.
Species: Intelligent Races
Allegiance: Civilian Lostrenian
Equipment: Traveling armor with adaptations for cold weather, filtration mask (preventative against plague)
Lirael is a highly mobile individual. At age thirty-three, she has toured most of Arad, visited the wastes beyond the reach of civilization, and studied alchemy in Dryton, although she spends far more time in her destinations than in the journey in the fashion of Albertus and a number of other semi-wealthy individuals seeking to expand their limited world. She doesn’t seem to have weapons, but she compensates for this by staying out of dangerous areas and traveling in a group, where invariably there will be someone else with a big cudgel to ward off vagabonds.
Albertus does not know much about her; they lived apartment blocks on the same street and both studied the use of herbs and chemicals while in Dryton, but their lives never overlapped.
Now for the Zaktan revamp…
Just kidding! I’m going to go through the essential pictures of this MOC and come back to talk about them later.
Now for some pictures of the inn.
That one big thick fing what you put on der side of houses and make out of bricks and dere’s four of ‘em.
What to start with…
Story first. I haven’t seriously written anything recently for the sake of writing, so I decided to see what would happen if I tried it for the sake of a pair of Bionicle MOCs. If you don’t like my style there, what can I say… I’m even better when I’m being sarcastic about something.
Now for the inn. It isn’t bad, it isn’t wonderful. I did like working with all of the brown pieces, though. This is the first time I’ve done an entire floor with planks like that – I need to order more wood pieces. An explanation on one or two details:
In Albertus and Lir’s world, where gunpowder has caught on as an aid to warfare but has not yet been (and never will be) put into a gun smaller than a cannon, dispensaries of black powder and other chemicals are common features of certain buildings, such as inns, barracks, convenience stores, and hospitals. They are built to withstand accidents and keep all flame out of the contents, and often have a weak spot for the energy of an explosion to exit with comparative lack of harm. Saboteurs and arsonists love them. The stove/furnace tries to fit in with the overall motif.
Who liked the size transition? I think the minifigures were worthy counterparts for their larger incarnations. Albertus looks great at both sizes, and although Lir doesn’t overly resemble herself, the little version has the facial expression I couldn’t add to the full-size version.
Finally, I come to Lir herself. You may have noticed that there is no waist joint; the main reason I like to include those is to allow my figures to tuck their knees up to their chests, and Lir can do that anyway. With that major defect out of the way, I can move on to my inspiration. I have intended to create a dark green BioMOC for a long time, ever since I saw how well my Skakdi spine fits over an old Kakama, and this was my chance. I also wanted a double-jointed figure that did not use those black ball-joint pieces because Albertus took all of those for himself (and I will try to post some flexibility shots later). Finally, I needed someone at about the same scale as the silver-and-black wanderer to expand his story.
Technical points: The upper arms stink, I know. The neck could be longer, as the hoodless shots show, but that’s an easy fix, as are the bronze-colored shoes. I don’t normally think of high heels as being any sort of footwear for a sane individual, but I had to keep in character. Her slender build and the skirt made from Vezon (Toa of Anarchy)’s cape continue the very feminine image.
Again, feel free to bash on anything and everything on this webpage – you will enjoy it, and I will learn from it.