This arid landscape is the home of the Ecei. Though it may look harsh and barren it holds within it vast potential and endless knowledge. The rocky crags and red stone arches belie the teeming lifeforms that have adapted to this harsh climate and now call it their home. Life in Ecei is not easy. Food is scarce and the constant thunderstorms make travel a dangerous prospect but through science and careful study we Ecei have tamed this wild land and molded it to the utopian society that it is today.
The Ecei storms are truly a force to be reckoned with and there are seldom few lifeforms that can withstand a lightning bolt from one of them unprotected. They are our greatest threat but also our greatest source of power. Long ago the Ecei learned to turn the lightning to their own ends. The vast networks of lightning rods and power stations collect the electrical discharges and store them to power our many technological marvels. Nowhere else in Vendrial can you find such wonders as our magnetic rail system or see sights as beautiful as the twinkling lights of our capital Fulmine at night. These wonders are only possible because of our tireless efforts to advance our understanding of the world we live on.
The Ecei are unique among the races for many reasons but the one to which we ascribe our great technological advances and what is truly the heart of being Ecei is our need to understand. Even the first Ecei knew that there was more to the world than what they could see. Back in the first days of our people, when the Ecei lands were less hospitable than they are now, the Ecei were compelled to observe and document. The first example of Ecei writing comes just after the first Ecei were born. Their crude drawings still stand in the center of the Storied City whose vast and spiraling walls are adorned with the knowledge of our people. Ecei from all over come to the Storied City to read the writings of their ancestors from the very walls that the city is built on. Some come to add their own writing and immortalize their accomplishments.
In the center of the Storied City lies the cloistered heart of The Memory. The Memory are a group with a singular purpose. They endeavor to accumulate the entirety of all knowledge on Vendrial within their incomparable library. No other repository of knowledge within Vendrial comes close to the knowledge housed within the walls of the Great Ecei Library. The Memory devote their lives to the pursuit of knowledge to the extent that they give up their individuality and worldly possessions to better pursue their goals. They represent the purest expression of Ecei life and are regarded almost spiritually by other Ecei and with respect by even the other races.
Ecei is a land of great peril but also great opportunity. From the bristling chaos of our lands we have made something beautiful. We have harnessed the lightning and tamed the stone. All challenges can be overcome with knowledge. All knowledge can be unearthed. Nothing can stand in the way of progress.
Welcome to Ecei, home of knowledge, home of science, home of progress.
Ecei Writer: Levi Juchau
There is a man at your gate, his body remains fixed and immovable in space as he mouths words that you cannot comprehend and cannot help but understand. What you understand is that he has always wanted to be a writer. Since before you were born. Since before he was born.
There is a man at your door. You cannot see him but his presence is known. Your door blackens and cracks, withering under the weight of his presence. Your eyes focus, unbidden, on the cracks as they form alien characters that you have never seen, whose meaning has always been known to you. Their meaning rises up from a hidden place inside of you. The Man enjoys the work of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Chuck Palahniuk.
You run to the window. There is a man at the window, he stands beside you and looks out at the him that is at your door. He turns to you with wooden precision. You hear the buzzing of flies as his mouth yawns open. Through the chaos of their drone you hear a whispered voice. The voice tells you the man has been writing comic books since he was young.
You run upstairs to your gun safe. Your sweaty hands fumble at the dial. Click. Click. Click. 4. Click. Click. 9. Click. Click. As the final date of your daughters birthday moves the tumblers into position your blood turns to ice. You have no daughter. This is not your gun safe. You don’t own any guns. The Man is 27. Though somehow older. Much older.
The man unfolds himself from the abyssal black portal now open at your fingertips. His skin slides back into place as his bones return to their usual positions inside his body. The viscera on the floor smells of the ancient sea. He looks at you with eyes of void and gnashing teeth and in their gaze you understand. You see the man’s name. The man is shaking your hand. His hands are cold and wet. His hands have too many bones. He says his name is Leviathan.
Ecei Artist: Dereck Barton arts (yes he uses it as a verb) mainly because he feels incomplete and bored without art in his life.
“Art is like a game” Dereck says. “You’re given materials and tools that posses their individual restrictions. Making something meaningful, beautiful and moving with these restrictions is the challenge. It’s mastery of mind and matter.”
He doesn’t stick to just one medium. Some days/weeks or years, He may stick to one medium but quickly switch to another. Even being one of the artists working with ASG since the beginning, he has worked various mediums; starting with leather and now taking on work for the Aegis Project. Dereck says “It can get boring and discouraging studying and working with one medium of art. Switching it up can bring new light and perspective. In some cases what you learn in one medium can be tweaked and brought into another. Studying and creating different styles of art is like experiencing different cultures.”
Dereck's education is vast, there was some painting classes as a child where he learned how to work in layers and go about planning projects. That one class in college where he learned the importance of drawing what is actually there rather than drawing what one thinks is there. And of course he is a career student at what he likes to call “The university of YouTube” Where countless nights are spent watching speed drawing/painting/sculpting. A well made speed video with great music goes a long way in understanding other artists techniques and tricks.
First Page of the last story