StG: The Order of Lacerta

January 29, 2014

Every organization, no matter how well run and organized, has its disaffected membership, and the Sisterhood of Light is no exception.

Member of the Order of Lacerta (Carol Phillips)

A member of the Order of Lacerta (Carol Phillips)

It is a little-known fact that the Sisterhood of Light occasionally has a problem with its Sisters going missing. The Sisters live a stern life. They deny themselves the luxury of good foods and nice fabrics, they sleep on slabs and train their formidable minds nearly all day long.

Understandably select members sometimes tire of it–they fall and flee from the sect. Most of the time they are quickly caught and punished by the Sisters at Twilight 4, never allowed to leave the confines of their strongholds again. Occasionally, they managed to evade capture and drift about the League like a refugee. The safest place from them to go is Xaphan Space. There, they stake out their territory and become members of a Shadowy group known as the Order of Lacerta. In the mythology of the League, Lacerta of the Midnight was the youngest daughter of Homma, and she often fled from his side.

The Order of Lacerta is a dark inverse image of the Sisterhood of Light. The “Lacertas” are everything the Sisters are not. They love wearing rich clothing and eating tasty foods (It is a fallacy that they only wear black–they often enjoy dressing in gaudy colors). They become obsessed with tobacco, illegal drugs, menthols and sex. They learn to use their mouths (the Sisters themselves never speak), and they love using profanity. They also have none of the inhibitions of the Sisterhood and often hire themselves out as mercenaries and bodyguards, using the money they make to fuel their addictions. A Lacerta is, without question, one of the most dangerous enemies one can face. Using their minds, they are impossibly strong, they can kill with a glance, they can scatter whole armies with a wave of their hand. Their power does, however, fade over time, though even a greatly de-powered Lacerta is very dangerous. Apparently the Sister’s power partially comes from the disciplined lives they lead.

One of Paymaster Stenstrom's most persistent enemies is a Lacerta who, seemingly, won't die. (Eve Ventrue)

One of Paymaster Stenstrom’s most persistent enemies is a Lacerta who, seemingly, won’t die. (Eve Ventrue)

Their influence in Xaphan Space is very localized and never far-reaching. The Sisters continue to hunt for them, and, when captured, they are re-taken to the League. They also tend to fight amongst themselves as they vie for wealth and power and duels between Lacertas are frequent–it is said they wage their duels on an uninhabited planet free from onlookers or distractions. They also become enslaved to their addictions and often fall to them over time. The wealth they amass tends make them irresistible targets for Xaphan Warlords to attack and plunder. With the prospect of rich spoils in the offing, Xaphans will team-up and spend years planning their attack. Such planning is crucial as Lacertas are deadly opponents.

The Xaphan House of Midas invented a deadly device specifically to assassinate Lacertas and Black Hats called a “Hemolizer“. Forged of metals that can pass through a Lacerta’s TK field, a hemolizer can kill a Lacerta or a Black Hat in minutes.

stgcover-front It certainly isn’t easy being a Lacerta. See a particularly vile and foul-mouthed Lacerta in “The Shadow tech Goddess”, coming soon from Loconeal Publishing.

copyright 2014, Ren Garcia, Eve Venture and Carol Phillips.

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TOTEH Artists: Eve Ventrue

January 6, 2012

Eve Ventrue

About two years ago, I received word of a young, budding talent in the art world and that I should attempt to secure her services if at all possible.

“She’s great!” the person said.

The name of the young artist in question is Eve Ventrue.

It seems like a long time ago that I first went into her website and marvelled at the gallery of amazing portraits on display. I sent her an email, and I wondered if she would reply–artists often-times don’t. But the next day I had an email sitting in my box written in halting English from Eve.

Since then Eve has been a steady force in the LoE universe, contributing many pics and has been instrumental in defining the look of several characters I’ve dreamed up. I still remember her as a shy young lady lacking only in confidence. Being a German, her English also wasn’t the best and I sometimes had to guess at what she was saying, but, since then Eve has become not only a trusted artist that I can rely on for creating stunning pieces of art, but a dear friend. I’ve watched her grow not only as an artist, but as a person as well (and her English has improved too).

I recently asked Eve a few questions about art and the artistic process.

What is your greatest influence? What artist(s) do you admire most??:

Eve: I admire lots of artists and I like modern digital art as well as the good old Classicism and traditional painters – therfore I would mention William Adolphe Bouguerau, Zdzisław Beksiński, Luis Royo and Kekai Kotaki.

Eve helped define the look of Kay, the Main Character in TOTEH

Eve has a great interest in gaming and gaming artwork–her gallery of portraits had “The Gaming Look” to them. I was hoping to tap into that energy. Eve’s amazing vision helped create the look of several LoE characters, most notably Kay, the main character of the Temple Trilogy. I described him to her as being “Handsome like his father and Beautiful like his mother.” Eve brought him to life as a handsome young man tinged with a beautiful fragility, like a flower.

How many hours a week do you devote to creating digital art?

Eve: Phew, this is difficult. As much as I can, which means about 40 hrs!

What obstacles do you frequently encounter and how do you overcome them?

Eve: The greatest obstacle is me and my self doubts and being short of time. Solving these problems is difficult, but I’ve learned to proceed no matter what, there is no other option, I guess.

This painting of Hannah-Ben Shurlamp is one of my favorite Eve works

There was always a note of shyness with Eve, a hint of tentativeness. I wanted to help bring her out of her shell by giving her challenging pieces of art to work on and allowing her the freedom to use her creativity in any way she chose. Soon there was a new Eve, a bold Eve painting with a madness to match my own.

In your daily life, where do you see inspiration??

Eve: Everywhere. It can be a tree, a rainy day, faces, a film, computer games or photos. Also music is a great inspiration for me!

Eve is a person on the move. She has written a fantasy book entitled The Venatore Legend that I hope she’ll let me translate into English for her some day.

Her amazing artwork was recently given top billing at Fantasy Inspiration.com:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ffantasyinspiration.com%2Fartists%2Frealism-in-fantasy-art-eve-ventrue%2F&h=TAQH5uKNH

Behind all the smoke and paint is a beautiful young woman of boundless talent


A Danish design studio has contracted Eve to do their artwork. Awesome, Eve–that’s my girl!!

To see more of Eve’s amazing artwork visit her website at: http://eve-ventrue.weebly.com

And finally, the most important question of all:

If you were to describe Ren Garcia in one word, what would it be???

Eve: Lovely.

copyright 2012, Ren Garcia and Eve Ventrue

"The Sisters" by Eve Ventrue

THE SISTERHOOD OF LIGHT is the oldest and most influential sect in the League. Their origins are shrouded in mystery. What is no mystery is that the Sisters are the acknowledged protectors of the League, even more so than the vaunted Fleet, and are universally loved.

They are often seen walking the streets in the various cities on Kana in their flowing white robes and winged headdresses. They are generally attractive, but rather stern-looking ladies, somewhat tall and rather elongated in form. The Sisters can barely speak verbally, instead using a complex form of empathy to communicate and employ specially trained Marines to speak for them when in public. They are also virtually blind: their incredibly powerful minds do all the seeing for them.

Many citizens of Kana demonstrate their love and admiration for the Sisters by buying them lunch or dinner when happening upon them in the cities. On such occasions they prove to have voracious appetites and a love of rich foods.

History:
According to Sisterhood publications, the Sisterhood of Light was formed early in the EX time epoch on Kana. Their purpose was to commune with the High-orbiting Elders and deliver their news to the people. When the Elders bestowed the Gifts of the Mind to the tribe of Vith, the Sisters took it upon themselves to investigate these Gifts. Their investigation continues to the present day.

It is said by some that the Sisters are in fact much older a sect than they let on, having been in existence since the CX time epoch on Cammara, which would make their order almost 300,000 thousand years old.

Programmability:

The Sisters seeking Programmability from Captain Davage, while Countess Sygillis protests (Carol Phillips)

The Sisters perpetuate themselves not by recruitment, but by birthing within their own ranks. When a Sister goes into her Fertile Period, the Sisters quickly locate for her a male deemed to be of suitable stock. This is an ongoing process, and how a League male is looked upon by the Sisters is a critically important benchmark in terms of status and social-standing known as Programmability. League males with high Programmability (in other words, those who have been called upon to mate with a fertile Sister many times) can do or become virtually anything they wish in the League, while others with a lesser Programmable rating have a much more difficult time. Those males considered Untouchable by the Sisters have difficulty finding employment and cannot join the Fleet.

"Hiei" by Carol Phillips

Strongholds:
The Sisters maintain twenty-five strongholds across Kana, each presided over by a Grand Abbess. Most of these strongholds are not open to the public. Only the chapel of Kurtis in the Great Armenelos Forest is readily open to the public. Many strongholds, such as Attilan, Twilight 4 and Deep 7 are forbidden and may not even be looked upon by the public at large. Air traffic is carefully routed away from such sites. Other sites, such as Hiei, Bern and Barton are partially open to the people provided they observe strict Sisterhood rules.

Enemies of the Sisterhood:
Being such a powerful and long-lived sect, the Sisters have made some persistent enemies over the centuries.

The Black Hats
The vile Xaphan sect of Black Hats are the enemy and constant foe of the Sisters. Once Sisters themselves, they followed the teachings of the Grand Abbess of Magravine who was obsessed with the odd and little-known Gift called Shadow tech. They gathered in secret, covering their faces with black sashes and performed things forbidden. Eventually, they splintered from the Sisters and fled into Xaphan space where they have been at war with the Sisters ever since. Though fearsome in power and armed with a number of illegal Gifts, an average Black Hat is no match for an average Sister and generally avoid them on the battlefield if at all possible.

The Hertogs:

The Professor, husband of Lt. Kilos and suspected Hertog (Bea Matarredona-Garcia)

An unusual adversary, the Hertogs are a group of renegade sages, scholars, historians and chefs who have fled the League to Ming Moorland. The Hertogs openly dispute the historical teachings of the Sisters and call into question their version of past events, often-times implying that the Sisters are not nearly as kind and chaste as they present themselves to be. Of all their various detractors the Hertogs are the most vocal and dangerous. Whether or not the Sisters seek to “silence” them is not known.

The Order of Lacerta
Though kept quiet for centuries, the Order of Lacerta is a gathering of “Fallen Sisters”. Occasionally, members of the Sisterhood become disenchanted and flee, often times into Xaphan space. These “Lacertas” generally don’t last long as they are pursued and hunted down by Torrs Twilinger. Lacertas often hire themselves out as mercenaries and paid bodyguards for Xaphan warlords. They are fearsome adversaries, possessing all of the Sisters’ power and none of their inhibitions. They revel in wealth and rich foods and fabrics. They become addicted to chemicals, narcotics, tattoos, piercings, smoking and unprincipled sex.

copyright 2011, Ren Garcia, Carol Phillips, Bea Matarredona-Garcia and Eve Ventrue