The sunflowers on her greaves are a nice touch.
Three modern magic-users out for their customary Thursday lunch meet-up.
Eagles bring her tidings from the four corners of all nine worlds, ravens harry & peck at any who trespass in her clearing, her hut roams the taiga on chicken legs, but it still somehow comes as a surprise to people when they encounter Baba Yaga’s bird maidens.
Conventional wisdom has it that they’re what becomes of impertinent girls who fail to show Grandma Witch the respect she deserves. Those who know better know that some are escapees from brutal spouses or cruel families who prefer a life of semi-shape-changing as the enforcers, musical chorus & heralds of the Crone.
Here’s one of the larger collections of Zdzisław Beksiński images I’ve seen yet: https://designyoutrust.com/2017/05/zdzislaw-beksinski-terrifying-visions-of-hell-by-murdered-polish-painter/?fbclid=IwAR3PoXQ_K4yTdquYTZrXbr7dcopVrBUzd4sSg0k7aUMfVNZzdhtAr2UvCfw
You were given to understand it would be someone entirely different who came to collect the souls of the fallen from the battlefield.
Illo by “Vergvoktre”, who- or whatever that is. Cover of the album “Granting Death” by Krahnholm.
Those who have sworn an oath to exact vengeance even at the cost of their own souls may find their way to the Gnarled Sifu.
It stands at the edge of a forgotten burying ground surrounded by the tangled forest beyond an almost depopulated village. On certain days in the depth of winter when freezing fog fills the air & settles in the branches, a black mu ren zhuang (also known as a mook jong) appears beneath the Sifu’s lowest-hanging branch. Techniques practiced on this mu ren zhuang become increasingly lethal over time. Train on it long enough & your strikes become poisonous, curdling the qi of anyone struck by them.
There are those who say that you don’t even have to have any kung fu before you come to the Sifu. It’s more than happy to teach you, new & ever more vicious techniques simply entering your mind as you practice.
Of course your qi has been equally contaminated by your unholy training. If you’re lucky, on death you’ll be able to purge your self-inflicted curse by spending a few decades in Hell. If not, there’s no amount of good feng shui that can keep you from rising as one of the dreaded Jiangshi (or hopping vampire).
Hilltop fortress for a post-apocalyptic warlord
That smile looks like he’s working on a plan to fiddle his way into yonder castle.
From the source:
A Gheg Albanian man from Malësia plays a Lahuta (Gusle)
Traditional instruments of the area often accompany Albanian folksinging and folk dancing. The most common is the flute, but bagpipes and drums are also heard at many informal gatherings. One instrument, the lahuta (LAII-hoo-tah), is a stringed instrument much like the lute that was common in northern Europe during the Renaissance. It is one of the oldest instruments still in use in Europe.
Clerical multitool. When Channel Divinity fails, there’s still shivving.
Partisans take up their scythes, short swords & at least one blunderbuss as they rise up against the empire.