2011's First Quarter Exalted Crayon - WYSTRO
Wystro the Great Wizard was used to people knocking on his office door at all hours of the day and night. As the wisest wizard in all the land, many made the journey along the narrow road, up the green mountain, past the spires, to the tower that touched the sky. Some came to ask questions. Others requested favors. Some simply wanted to see the wizard for themselves.
Wystro usually had tea at the ready. While he couldn’t answer every question, and some favors were beyond even his greatness, no one who visited him ever had cause for complaint, for he was hospitable first and foremost.
And for those who were not easily impressed, there was the massive wooly spider.
Said spider was busily fixing Wystro’s long auburn hair, all eight legs whirling with combs and scissors and clips, when the knock came at the door. The wizard gave a little sigh and made to get up, but a long hairy leg gave him an admonishing tap on the shoulder; he wasn’t to move just yet. Not wanting to lose an ear to an overzealous spider, he kept his seat, but called out to his visitor.
“Please, come in.”
Silence, and then another, softer knock.
Wystro frowned. He supposed it was possible his guest hadn’t heard him, but he thought it more likely that they were intimidated by his Wizardly Greatness. Which, he reflected, was a shame; he preferred his company after they finally got comfortable and just treated him like a normal person.
Well, treating him like a really spectacular amazing normal person was okay too. He could just do without the awed stammering, bowing, blushing, tripping…
Presents were nice though. Wystro supposed one had to take the good with the bad.
“If you don’t come in, you’re going to be out there a while. I assure you, it’s much nicer in here...”
He was answered by a loud creak, then more silence. More amused than anything now, Wystro turned one of the many small mirrors (ignoring the disapproving click of mandibles behind him) so that he could see the doorway. The door was open a sliver, but there was no one to be seen.
Then he tilted the mirror down, and saw the tiny girl who had come all this way to visit him. She was looking at the spider with eyes like saucers and trembling a little in her pointed shoes.
Wystro couldn’t help but smile into the mirror. He sat up a little straighter and stretched his arms in an exaggerated fashion, giving a loud sigh of satisfaction.
“I look *fantastic*, don’t I? Now, we have a guest! Be a dear and fetch the tea pot, would you?”
The spider shoved one last defiant pin into Wystro’s hair before clacking off to the kitchen alcove, where she busied herself with tea things and generally made as much noise as possible to voice her displeasure at being interrupted.
Wystro turned to the little girl and rolled his eyes at his spider’s antics, which earned him a giggle. Deciding that was progress, he leaned forward and asked, in his best ‘kindly wizard’ voice, “And what brings you here, little girl? Would you like to sit down? Have some tea? Have you come to see Magic? I know,” he added, lowering his voice conspiratorially, “you haven’t come to see giant spiders! She’s quite tame, though, don’t worry about her.”
Violent clatter and clamor told Wystro that his spider had heard every word. This time, the giggle was a shared one, and the girl took another step inside. It seemed to take her a couple of tries to work up her courage, and then a couple more to get past the giggles; Wystro was now leaning forward so far he looked liable to fall out of his chair, hamming up his strain to hear what she had to say.
“Come and see…”
Curious now, Wystro stood, then reached for his peacock feathered cloak as the little girl slipped along the edge of the room toward the balcony. It would seem that the child had something to show him, which was a bit of a departure (considering most guests wanted him to show them something, not the other way around), but he was quite happy to indulge her. She hesitated at the outside door, allowing Wystro to go through first and look out at the town far below.
There seemed to be quite a party going on. Dancing in the streets, costumes, and the beginnings of a great parade were in evidence. A firework exploded, sudden and bright in the twilight sky, and the crowd below cheered in delight. From the center of town, he could hear singing – something about ‘the great exalted one’, though he wasn’t certain he was hearing right.
“Goodness, what’s all this?”
“Oh!” The little girl rummaged through her pockets, looking flustered until she finally found the roll of parchment she sought, which she handed to Wystro to read.
On this, the FIRST QUARTER of the NEW YEAR
Our most honorable governors and the citizens of this great land hereby declare a
QUARTER of EXALTATION
In honor of his service and devotion to our fine community and in recognition of his many contributions, as well as the fact that he is a spectacular amazing person.
Come one, come all, to celebrate WYSTRO’s accomplishments and show our appreciation!
“Well.” Wystro paused, hardly knowing what to say. “Well. Hmm. It looks as though we have a party to attend! Darling,” he called over his shoulder, “do you want to go to a party?”
A flying teapot crashing against the far wall was sufficient reply from the spider.
“I suppose that’s a no, then. Take my hand – I’ll port us down. Good thing I already look amazing, otherwise we’d be later for my own party than we already are! Let’s go!”
When Vulash pulled me e-aside one day and asked if he could suggest someone for Exalted Crayon, I said, "Sure...if we still did them. I'm quite lazy now."
I admit it, I am.
But when he suggested Wystro, I brought the request to the rest of staff and we all said, "Wait...hasn't he been an Exalted Crayon before? He has, right? Of course he has...he's Wystro."
I met Wystro on another board but when he woke up and pulled himself out of that dark and horribly debilitating place, (Did that sound bitter?) he brought his sunshiny wackiness to TAC and we have been a better community because of it. He is generous, talented, flamboyant, and a true friend of the board and all of us here. He is the host of our weekly Sketch Topic and an always willing participant in our art events and Mafia games. Wystro is a breath of some damn fresh air and we love him for it.
He is an exceptional freehand artist whose artwork continues to captivate us with its simplicity and intricate subtlety, making the simple act of pen to paper an almost godlike rapture of emotion and beauty. His artwork can be found at: http://www.wystro.deviantart.com and we highly encourage everyone to partake in the bounty of his amazing vision.
John, you're a good bean. Don't ever change. Don't ever go away. This is truly long overdue.
ps - We bought you another 3 month subscription to Deviantart.com from TAC STAFF. We love you and thank you for your time and effortless charm.
As for the picture I created for you, blame yourself. Oh and Lessa of course! I was trying to get ideas of what to create for you, since I've honestly been wanting to create an actual Wystro pic for years now. We got talking about EQ2, and you said Wystro is probably at his longest hair styling appointment ever. Gears started to crank, and I mentioned the conversation to Lessa. The spider being your hairdresser was all -her- idea. Yeah, have the chick with serious arachnophobia play with a big, scary, hairy spider. *shivers* By gods I did it tho! *giggles* I do hope you like this lil vision of the Wystro I've grown to love. I have a siggy for you to use, too, if you wants. Love ya sweetie!
Verileah, I love the story! You've captured all of Wystro's quirks and idiosyncrasies including his enamored devotion to his hair. My hair and I parted ways long ago, and I always included that trait as a joke with myself. I did not expect the bitter-married-couple element that you introduced between Wystro and his spider -- I laughed so hard reading that! What a wonderfully-crafted little tale. The care that you took in creating it is obvious, and I deeply appreciate it.
Eve, the picture is gorgeous -- I will now expound upon its Eve-ish virtues. There is of course a clear and well-designed primary narrative that the viewer takes in immediately. The main figures interact with each other and their objects in an absolutely natural way, demonstrating your Eve-like skill at rendering. Then of course there's the background and environment! Showing a positively Eve-esque attention to detail, the setting becomes a character of its own: the books, plants, and implements reflecting Wystro's back story and changes. His suit is back there! You've even blended in the lovely additions that KaAnna made with the amazing render that she created for me last exchange. Above all of this, thank you for being a wonderful friend.
Roz, thank you for this lovely honor, and thank you for being you. Thank you for being bored enough with the standard MMO culture all those years back and making TAC. Thank you for being cantankerous enough to keep the weirdos at bay. Thank you for giving the rest of us room to express ourselves in this wonderful venue. Your excitement for all things creative (literature, renders, art of all types) as well as all sorts of cultural ephemera sets the tone and creates an environment where TAC members of various interests and backgrounds mingle effortlessly. The cool cross-pollination that happens here only happens with someone like you stirring the pot. Thank you for letting me be a part of it.
Thank you to everyone who has sketched, commented, or even breathed on the Weekly Sketch Topic threads!
Pickle, thank you for your kind words. I was really moved and honored that I was trusted with a project with such deep meaning.
As some of you know my younger brother committed suicide this past summer after a three year battle with brain trauma from a car accident. It has been a very difficult time for myself, and my family - especially my parents who tried to help him, and had to endure many hardships during that time, culminating in this deep loss. I had posted for help in editing a picture months ago, and John saw this. He immediately offered to paint a portrait (I don't know art terms so I hope that is right). I spoke with my mom, and she thought this would be a wonderful thing to do. We decided to alter one of my dad's favorite pictures of Michael, with his bow, since my dad and my brother shared a strong bond hunting. We were hoping we'd be able to afford it, and if possible have it done by Christmas to give to my dad - this was going to be the first Christmas without him.
Not only did John do this for us, but he refused to let us pay, and did an absolutely magnificent job. He worked with us very closely, used multiple pictures, wrapped it like Fort Knox (his words!, but true) and shipped it to us with plenty of time before Christmas. Not only did the picture really look like my brother, but it really captured his spirit as well - you could see the mischevious, good-natured humor in his eyes. I should point out that this wasn't just slight alterations to a picture - it was completely new just using the one as a theme, and the others to capture him.
Christmas was hard for us, and we gave him the picture last. His first words were "that's him, that's him" and his next few were simply "it's perfect". My entire family was very touched, not only by the picture and all it meant to us, but the fact that someone I've never actually met (and only known recently on here) would do something this meaningful for us, for no cost. I know for a fact that John put a lot of time and energy into that painting all to help someone else out.
John, I think you are a truly unique, kind, and amazing individual, and saying thank you over and over just doesn't seem strong enough. It's obvious by the other responses that mine is not the only life you've touched. I mentioned to my parents your request to just do something nice for someone else, and I look for chances when I can, thinking of that. If you're ever in need of anything, please let me know. I look forward to buying you that beer the next time I'm in Portland!