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TitleA is for Arsenic: The d'Vanecu ABCs
UserUzriel
RankingWinner
Post Date (Visible)September 2020
Content

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Preface

 

Family. It's a concept important not just across the Basin, but even amongst the Elder Gods who feel an especially deep kinship with their crechemates. In Magnagora, family takes on a special significance as we track the old bloodlines, and as the noble houses carve out power leveraging their niche knowledge passed down along the lines.

 

This book started as a simple piece for family, something to have read to my children to teach them not only the basic alphabet but to instill our family's sense of duty and what it is to be not just a d'Vanecu but a Magnagoran.

 

On each page I will introduce a letter of the alphabet with a word associated to it. On the same page I have also sketched an example of the word, usually mostly a stylized black and white ink.

 

As I finished and was reviewing the pages, I realized it would be selfish to keep the lessons herein only to myself and mine. Every child across the Basin could benefit from the lessons on this page.

 

So to you I say, let your child look at the pictures while you (or the hired help) read and explain to them. They'll learn not just the alphabet but the values they need to grow up to be a contributing member of society.

 

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A is for Arsenic, which is what Mommy gives to Daddy when he makes her mad.

 

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A stylized black and white ink illustration depicts a man standing and clutching at his throat in visible pain, a broken teacup dropped upon the floor at his feet. Nearby stands a serene noblewoman with a placid smile upon her face, she holds behind her back a bottle with a large "A" written on it.

 

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B is for the Box that Mommy and Daddy will put you in whenever you misbehave.

 

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Sketched in black and white is a box with roughly the same size and dimensions of a child's sarcophagus. An overly elaborate and exaggerated set of latches and locks keep it securely closed, even a chain has been wrapped around it for good measure. Sound waves are drawn emanating from the prison as if to indicate somebody banging within to be let out.

 

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C is for Cookie, which you should never take from strangers, they will try to steal you for the orphanage and make you a slave for the light.

 

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A merian has been drawn in black and white, a malicious grin on his face as he leans down holding a comically large chocolate chip cookie in offering to a clearly skeptical viscanti child. Behind the merian stand several more unhappy looking children being held in fetters, each holding a cookie of their own.

 

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D is for Dusk, which is blessed by the Lady Enchantress Drocilla. It is when the sun sets and night begins.

 

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Strikingly dramatic and moody color paints the firmament in sharp contrast to the otherwise monochromatic book. Streaks of lavender, claret, and blush against the fledgling indigo before night settles illuminates the skyline of Magnagora as might be seen from a distance to the east. In the background behind a haze of what is either smog or mist, the sun, smoldering with embers of gold, hangs low caught in a perpetual dusk.

 

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E is for Exsanguination which is when you take out the blood from somebody. It can be done for science, Nil, or fun. Your cousin Edwin is an expert at exsanguination.

 

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A viscanti man with wavy black hair wearing a wrinkled white lab coat has been sketched happily holding a needle pressed into the wrist of a second, less identifiable person who squirms in discomfort. A speech bubble above the man holding the needle reads, "Don't worry, this will only hurt a lot!" Departing from the black and white coloring, the needle is shown filled with a deep crimson blood that contrasts heavily against the rest of the sketch. A bucket overflowing with the same brightly colored blood sits on the floor between the two figures, an indication of just how much was already drawn.

 

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F is for Fate, which is something that tries to tell you what will happen no matter what you do. We don't believe in Fate in Magnagora.

 

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Three malevolent sisters of different ages have been sketched standing conspiratorially behind a loom. Unmistakably the Fates themselves, Clotho the youngest is selecting a spindle from a basket as Lachesis works the loom. Atropos, the oldest, stands with a pair of shears ready to cut the thread.

 

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G is for Geomancy and Geochemantics. That is the study of the strongest element - Earth - which includes rocks, fumes, and the taint itself.

 

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A pair of figures are shown beside each other. One wears an iron tank upon his back with an assortment of hoses, valves, and other apparatus attached. He wields the magnum blastworks in one hand while the other is busy adjusting one of the valves to fire his weapon, a thick cloud of fumes and shrapnel erupting from it. The other figure crouches down, staff in one hand as the other rests upon the ground. The earth is rent in twain before him in a giant chasm that extends out from his hand.

 

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H is for Heart, our favorite gift to offer to the Demon Lords. When you become big enough you'll be able to offer them too. 

 

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A necromancer is sketched looming over another figure who has been bound crucified to an iron cross. Vivid sprays of crimson are drawn in contrast to the rest of the black and white sketch as the necromancer holds up a heart in offering, blood still gushing from both the heart and the sacrifice's open chest wound. Both figures are shown with an ecstatic smile upon their faces, this despite the pain that the sacrifice must be experiencing.

 

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I is for Imp, who while mischievous and incompetent, are easily dominated and are servants for the family.

 

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A mischievous imp is sketched in black and white, its head is bowed submissively and he offers a platter forward on one hand which is topped with tasty treats. A small towel is draped over its arm giving it the comical appearance of waitstaff. Several more imps flit overhead, flying to and fro in attendance of their duties.

 

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J is for Jagerox the Dead Voice who taught us Necroscream. Those in Magnagora who become Cacophony bards learn to wrack and roll as he does.

 

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A prism has been sketched in black in white in the center of the page, a ghostly face visible within it. Bones litter the floor and a woman is held prisoner, feet lifted off the ground as her attention is focused on the prism in rapt interest. Sound waves are shown emanating from the prism, musical notes and a speech bubble showing the verse of a song, "Let's Wrack and Roll!"

 

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K is for Knife, which is an instrument no d'Vanecu should be without. Be it for science, sacrifices, or even just to eat food it can find use everyday.

 

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Four different examples of blades have been sketched to show the variety of uses. The first, a precisely edged scalpel is depicted with the words "For Science" beneath it. Next to the scalpel is a sinister ritualistic dagger, the words "For Sacrifices" written below it. The third example displayed is a serrated kitchen knife labeled, "For Snacks and Steaks." The last example, a ridiculously oversized sword is captioned, "A different s-word. Not a knife."

 

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L is for the Luciphage the Supreme Master, also known as the Dominator or DOMINATOR. To him, all souls are damned and from him do we gain strength.

 

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A handsome figure with luxurious black hair that falls to his shoulders has been sketched sitting on a large throne decorated in spikes. In one hand he holds a staff which has a skull affixed to the top, its eyes a pair of pitch black diamonds. The Demon Lord wears a luxurious robe that pools around the floor, its borders inscribed with forbidden sigils.

 

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M is for Mask, which you wear to hide your face or what you think. Some people wear them because they are so good looking nobody is worthy to see their face, others wear masks to hide how ugly they are. You can also wear a mask for parties.

 

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A scene is sketched in black and white of masked revelers in a masquerade ball. Some of the masked figures are dancing, while others converse holding champagne flutes before them, still others stand furtively to the side with blades held behind their back. The masks themselves vary from the beautiful to the grotesque, from simple domino style, to elaborate pieces that fully conceal the face.

 

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N is for Nil, the land of demons who teach us strength and truth. To Nil do we owe everything, a debt we repay through our devotion.

 

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The demonic landscape of Nil has been sketched across the bottom of the page. Mist has been sketched shrouding a desert area with a tower standing tall within it, the ringing bells of a carillon depicted atop it. Beside the tower, an amaranth is depicted hanging from a series of hooks, bright red blood depicted weeping from the flower in departure from the black and white art style. A foul swamp is depicted seamlessly beside the amaranth, a giant pit lined with teeth occupying the center. The swamp leads at last to an elaborately tangled weave of spider webs, an ancient tome caught within the middle of it.

 

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O is for Orifice which is something Lord Gorgulu has hundreds or thousands of, can you count them all? An orifice is a hole in a person and can be a mouth or the nostrils.

 

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An amorphous blob has been sketched, appendages and tentacles writhing around the page as they grasp people and objects alike to pull them inexorably towards one of its many gaping maws.

 

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P is for Pariah, who are the rejects that live beneath Magnagora in the undercity. All the pariahs are ugly and not perfect like you and me, the only thing worse than the pariahs are the contemptible, but neither are real people.

 

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An ugly hunchbacked figure is shown shuffling across the floor with an awkward gait. One leg is clearly longer than the other, and it appears to have two left feet in the literal sense. The creature's arms are too short and end in three clawed digits rather than hands. The lopsided monstrosity that is its face seems to have no concept of symmetry and where its nose should be is only a pair of slits.

 

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Q is for Quest which is a journey or task that you do for somebody else in exchange for riches and personal glory. There are all kinds of tasks you can do for people, just ask them if they have a quest for you and remember they will pay you for it.

 

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Two figures have been sketched in conversation. One of the figures, a scratched and obviously tired viscanti is handing a small statuette to the other, a human who is offering a small bag of coins in compensation. A speech bubble above the human shows him saying, "Well done adventurer, you've completed the first step of the quest. Now I need you to wait for the next waxing gibbous moon when you can complete the puzzle to unlock the door to the vault and gather the 200 corpses found within that I'll need. Then I'll need you to..."

 

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R is for Refinement which means always acting well-behaved with manners and decorum while dressing properly. A d'Vanecu always acts with refinement, even if you do not like somebody you wait for the right moment to show it.

 

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Two young children, a boy and a girl, are sketched standing as the epitome of a regal noble bearing. Their posture is immaculate and a pleasant smile that doesn't reach their eyes graces their face. The boy is shown dressed in a pressed, well-tailored suit while the girl wears a dress that nearly reaches the floor.

 

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S is for the Screaming Hatreds of Lord Ashtorath. Screaming at your mommy and daddy is never okay, but you can channel the rage to become stronger and use it against your enemies. Remember you need strength to go with it.

 

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This sketch shows a whirling of damned spirits caught in a frenzy of screaming rage, moving to the tune of a carillon of thirteen antiquated bells. While it is clear that something else was once also present, the spirits in their rage have reduced it to naught but a pile of rubble.

 

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T is for Torture which is the preferred art of Lady Nifilhema, the Queen of Insufferable Cruelty. She has lots of toys she likes to use for torture and she's always innovating on new ways.

 

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Scenes that would be considered too horrific for a normal child have been sketched on this page, the black and white ink depictions are contrasted by the vivid blood red that represents the only color found on the page. In every scene both the torturer and the victim are shown in a rapturous state with genuine smiles on their faces. The tortures include disembowelment, flaying, the iron maiden, and other unspeakable acts.

 

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U is for Ur'life or Undead, which is what happens when somebody is blessed by Necromancy from Nil or the Vernal God Urlach. Those blessed with ur'life will always be perfect and never truly die.

 

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A towering dark figure shrouded in shadows stands looming a stone slab. Necromantic energy sparks out from the outstretched hands of the tenebrous figure to a second person laying prone on the slab, eyes fluttering open groggily as one hand prepares to push themselves up as if waking from a deep slumber.

 

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V is for Viscanti which is the most noble and superior race in the basin, it is what you and I are. The Taint transformed us and elevated us into the superior noble and handsome beings that we are today.

 

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Several viscanti, males and females alike, have been sketched on this page in black and white. Each figure is depicted with a different combination of demonic characteristics including but not limited to vestigial wings, barbed tails, and horns of different shapes and sizes. Despite the variety depicted in the race, they all stand with a noble bearing and attractive features.

 

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W is for Web of Despair that Lord Baalphegar, the Prince of Dark Fates weaves. It is a web of knowledge and plots and lies to get what he wants. You should never lie to your parents and you should never get caught by anybody else.

 

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The shadowy fingertips of a giant unseen hand have been sketched on each side of the page with a complex weave of webbing interconnecting them. People dangle from a few strands of the web like marionettes being controlled by an unknown presence.

 

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X is for Xenocide which is making the world a better place by getting rid of all the contemptible. The contemptible are the races of merian, elfen, and kephera and they are not to be considered people. Sometimes we need to work with contemptible and not kill them immediately, but in the end remember they aren't real people. They are good as crafting material such as for food, leather, or bone.

 

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A merian, an elfen, and a kephera have been sketched on the page with an X replacing their eyes in a cartoonish depiction of death. Surrounding the figures are an assortment of suggested uses for their body which includes a shrine splattered with blood, a merian steak, an unfurled leather parchment, and a toy bone rattle.

 

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Y is for Yes Father and Yes Mother, which is the answer you should always give when daddy or mommy tell you to do something. 

 

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A man and a woman are depicted towering over a pair of children that must be theirs. The parents both have a stern expression on their faces while the children's expression is downcast and obedient. A small speech bubble shows the children saying, "Yes Father. Yes Mother."

 

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Z is for Zoo where all the exotic animals live in Magnagora. Make sure to feed them, they especially like the mutts that dirty up the street.

 

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A variety of exotic, mutated animals have been sketched on the page here, each creature chained to a post. The most prominently displayed are a walrus whose tusks are extraordinarily long and sharp, a camel with humps not only on its back but also growing upon its side and stomach, a bloated snake perpetually shedding its skin, a vicious carnivorous rabbit, and lastly a parrot whose gigantic head is the same size as its body. A sign in the background reads "Do Feed the Animals."

 

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