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Post by Thelos on Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:11 pm

Jean-Baptiste de Gouille

On a certain sunny may afternoon, a woman was being buried. There weren't too many people to see her off. The gentlemen present hadn't even bothered to dress in black. Except for the priest. His robe was very nice and clean. No creases or anything. Though the prayer he recited wasn't all too special, he was ever so solemn about it. Pity about the audience. The guards knew every eulogy by heart of course, and so did the undertaker. He wasn't dressed in black either, but he did wear a very tall top-hat. He sluggishly leaned on his shovel, ready to rain down the dirt on the cheap cask below. It had been used to transfer fruits from Stranglethorn to Stormwind earlier this week. It still had these little red letters painted on it that had nothing to do with the lady inside. Nice shovel, too. The undertaker twisted it slightly so the blade reflected some sunlight right in to the priest's eyes. He soldiered on though. You don't need no sight to recite.

That undertaker was me by the way. Jean-Baptiste de Gouille. I'm not really an undertaker though. I'm an artist. This job is just a cover so I can be at the graveyard at night. I've got the keys to the gates and everything. It really is quite convenient. If a guard stops me I can just tell him "I'm the undertaker", and he'll shrug and leave me be. I don't think any of them know what an undertaker actually does. I know I don't. What a nice shovel.

I'm about to dig up the woman. I don't think I'll have much use for her. I'm pretty sure she was a tramp, so her skin will probably be in the worst condition. Just awful. Wicked odor, too. She looked like she had some pretty decent hair on her though. Like ink. I'll swap the body for a dummy of the same weight. A real pretty one. I don't think anyone will notice. She didn't even get a tombstone.

In the candlelight and up close I could finally study her properly. She really isn't all too ugly for a tramp. Must have been quite the looker before. Eyes of a priestess she had. I tried to mix their color using oils but I just couldn't get it right. You never truly can, honest. So I took the eyes and bottled them. They really are quite distinct from the other blues. Deep and rich, highly saturated. I do not think there is enough paint in the world to copy them. The alcohol should keep them conserved for now, but I do pray I'll find a use for them soon. They'll decay if I don’t. I wish I had the resources to bottle the organs properly. Some of the older ones are already starting to rot. Stinks up the whole place, it does.

Even after washing her properly her skin turned out to be quite useless, so I scraped it off and threw it on the heap. It really was too rough to use for sowing. Not a woman's skin at all. The flesh was still fresh, so I gathered it all up in a neat heap. I conserved most of my favorite organs out of habit, but threw away the guts and other icky ones. I think I like the heart the most, though hers was in a sorry state. The flesh and organs were fine, but inside was the real suprise. Fancy yourself a fisherman who just caught a big oyster. First there's the hard shell, a good tool for lots of neat things. That's not why you caught it, though. You caught it for the meat. So you pry it open and inside you find a pearl. And not the petite kind either, but the real big and shiny one. Would you really still care about the meat? Or the shell? That's how I felt about the skeleton. Especially the skull. What noble cheekbones. I could hardly believe it belonged to a tramp. Could this woman have been a fallen lady? I'd like to think so. How sad.

After carefully indexing the skeleton, taking great care not to get the fingers and toes mixed up, I got back to work. The skin of the woman I dug up earlier wasn't much use here. I was sculpting an old lady, using an old portrait I found out in the trash earlier as reference. I needed saggy nice old lady skin, not washed out tramp skin. Sure, I could try to make younger skin look aged, but it wouldn't be the same. You really cannot properly imitate age, you really cant. There's no true substitute for time. There's history in a skin you cannot copy on canvas. Luckily I still had some old skin stored up, so I got to work with that. Cutting and mending the pieces, I crafted a nice warm scarf to wrap around her neck. The skeleton I had found for this one was very pretty, too. Brittle and a little decayed, yellowed in the most breathtaking way. Just how I like it. As I was getting ready to wrap the skin around her neck, I noticed there were several joints missing. There were tiny teeth marks all over the bones.

Furious, I called for my assistant. The little girl ghoul, who had been playing dead on the rotting flesh heap like she loved to, came shambling towards me with an eager expression. She had ripped her dress up something fierce.
'Samantha' I called her, for that was her name.
She moaned.
'Sam, dearest, have you been snacking on the models again?'
Samantha whimpered pathetically. She was avoiding eye contact, which was odd, considering she didn't have any eyes.
'Its all right, Sam. It really is. Just don't let it happen again. There's plenty of toys to play with deeper down the crypt, all right? We simply can’t have you chewing up the studio, no sir that won’t do at all. Now be a darling and fetch me my tobacco'.

Samantha gurgled with delight as she sprinted off towards the kitchen. I just couldn't get angry at the girl. She did her best, she really did. She was one of my first successfully animated undead, so her memory was quite shoddy. She was barely sapient and couldn't help it if her instincts got the better of her. Its my fault if she screws up, honest. I could animate a much better ghoul now, but I just couldn't abandon Sam like that. Art is never finished; it is merely abandoned. You keep your failures around so you can learn from them.

Samantha cooed excitedly as she came dashing around the corner with my smokes and a half-full bottle of gin. That's my girl! Not only did she accurately understand my command, abstracting the meaning of the verbal utterance "Tobacco", but she also remembered that I like to have gin with my smokes. I really never directly tell her this, honest, she thought of it on her own. An impressive abstraction to be sure. Samantha, you're simply a delight. You always brighten my day with your higher cognitive functions.

Just before reaching me Samantha suddenly dropped to the floor like a marionette whose strings just got cut. The bottle of gin shattered on the floor with a violent splash. She didn't even twitch as the alcohol doused her pretty little dress. She was, by all definitions, quite dead. Just then I stood there motionless, thinking whether it would be worth the trouble to try and reanimate her. I decided right there on the spot it wasn't, so I gently lifted her body and put her to sleep next to the others. Shame about the dress. Ragged beyond repair. That's life for ya. Here's hoping her younger grandmother will last longer. She really ought to, you know. I've improved quite a bit, if I may say so myself.

I never smoke in the studio, honest. It damages the materials quite severely, especially the eyes. I got those bottled though, so they should be okay. I opened the tailors' drawer and sighed as I confirmed my sad suspicion. I was low on ghost thread. Soon I would be sowing with plain old visible thread, like in the early days. O well. Perhaps I could turn it into a boon. There really is some beauty in it, you know. There really is. You can clearly see the hand of the artist. Sort of like singing your work. Except I don't like to sign mine. The work should grow to be independent of the artist. Every little chick needs to leave the nest at some point.

The sun rose as I finished my smoke. I grabbed my shovel, put on my top-hat and stepped out into the light, excited about what the new day would bring. There was to be a burial tonight. Some old noble who quietly died in her sleep. It promised to be a beautiful funeral. I wonder what priest they got to do it. I hope its the same one that did the last. He really was quite solemn. Honest.

Last edited by Thelos on Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:00 am; edited 1 time in total

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Join date : 2011-07-18
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Re: Opus

Post by Lexgrad on Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:00 pm

Cool I love it!

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