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Here's an unfinished sketch - some anonymous multivixen. I'm slowly easing myself back into stuff like this after weeks (months!) away thanks to stress having its way with me. It feels good, but not as good as I'd like it to just yet. There are some unresolved things still.

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This is how it was, back when and where the Bitkin were created. The Empire runs on puzzles and riddles, so creating automated servants that could solve puzzles for them was a goal for a long time. It started small - just simple rules like reading and writing a single symbol or subtracting one number from another - and then they made Bitkin who could play chess, simulate the motion of stars and planets, and other things that were too tedious for normal pen and paper calculation. Bitkin were made to be good at following directions, and they still are. They are, in fact, software - but they're software with individual personalities. The Empire doesn't have the technology to create actual microchips or computers at all.

...so just what are they, then?

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Having a little trouble figuring out the next step of the Bitkin background, but in the meantime game design ideas have been percolating again, and one of them is the idea of having to rescue captive characters from the dungeons who will then take up residence on your Ark and help out with upgrades and so on. So here' s Nihal... he's only ever been a minor demon at best, one who'd change sides in a heartbeat. Definitely the type who'd be grateful for a rescue by someone whose cause he can support. The question is, whose dungeon did he end up in? I haven't decided that yet, but there aren't a lot of them that have literal stone walls and chains.

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The Empire of Logic is in hot pursuit of the man who would eventually become the Corps' Commander, but at this point was still a nameless wanderer between worlds. He hadn't even settled on "Dean" as a pseudonym yet.
At some point, he found himself inside the Empire, and discvered that these mysterious electronic chips - the ones inside the box he's carrying - were actually people. That, sealed inside them, something was alive and sentient and begging for rescue. There's only one answer to that: steal them and get them somewhere safe. He'd keep them in his own possession for a while, and when the Corps came to recruit him, he handed them over, knowing the Corps would know what to do with them.

So what were they for in the first place?

I want to see a dragon character with Fake Fire Breath. It looks like real fire, and is even warm, but it only leaves things looking cartoonishly charred with a fine layer of soot.

This is the music I associate with that room. The way it starts off sort of ominous, but then flows into peaceful - it fits the server room's purpose and feel perfectly.
biggiantcircles.bandcamp.com/t

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Deep beneath the Nexus Center, beyond multiple layers of security and Corps-provided indestructible walls, is the place where the Bitkin actually live. While their holographic projections can show up anywhere in the city with a compatible emitter - i.e. the Nexus Center, some rooms at Corps HQ, and a few other special places - their true physical bodies rest there in the form of mysterious microchips all wired in to these racks of servers. The reason for all the security is that if the chips get damaged, the associated Bitkin is effectively dead for good. They can respawn like video game characters as long as the chip stays intact.

But where did the chips come from in the first place?

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Going to do another sequence of sketches. Telling stories in this format feels pretty natural, and this time I want to explore a little more into who the Bitkin really are and where they came from. Sentient computer programs don't just happen, but to get to the truth, it's going to be a bit of a journey. Blit is the only one who remembers how it all went down... even if he sometimes wishes he didn't.

🐉🖥️
KDE has a whole bunch of what they call dragons, but which are clearly Bitkin (and there's no reason they can't be both).

community.kde.org/Promo/Materi

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Delyria's game mechanics had never been that interesting, in any incarnation of the game, but lately I've been going back to look at other inspirations and the idea of something card-based has some definite appeal. Like this vulpine swordswoman here, applying a "Red Tint" card she gained access to in her training as an Illustrator. It adds a flame effect to whatever it modifies - in this case, a sword strike. Usually card mechanics don't correspond so directly to stuff in the actual setting, but for Delyria it makes a certain kind of sense. It goes with the sort of quill-pens-and-parchment-and-clockwork feel of the setting.

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Just some more Elseways sketches, with very different moods.
Blit on the top there - he's usually so busy being the stage manager at the Nexus Center, organizing the Bitkin so they can sculpt the holographic scenery and special effects, but on the rare occasion he gets to take the spotlight himself, he turns out to be a more-than-capable game show host, with the right upbeat demeanor and ability to improvise that the role demands.
Meanwhile, Lillian's made herself sad and gets a reassuring shoulder pat from a friend. Sometimes she sees something that reminds her of her childhood, back in a place that no longer exists, and those feelings of isolation come flooding back. It's hard being one of only two survivors, and the other one has her own awkward issues with it.

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Xahra, two-headed lioness, lives in the Riverfront neighborhood of Elseways. Unlike most of her neighbors, she's not a visual artist - Xahra is a magician (of the "stage illusion" sort, not the "actual supernatural powers" sort). She's one of the best in the city, often getting called in to perform at citywide festivals or at the casino in the Nexus Center. Those sparkles are just a chemical formula she worked with the university to prepare - they're really just soap bubbles filled with a luminescent gas.

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Aura Sylvestri, a demon-hunter from the land of Ambaron on Delyria. She usually wears elaborate armor, but here I just wanted to draw her body shape without that getting in the way. She had ten arms before, but trying to fit them all in gets harder when I'm actually trying to place them anywhere reasonable, so I only drew eight here. It's meant to be a tribute to another ten-armed demon-slayer - Durga of Hindu lore. Ambaron is vaguely India-like, although it has influences from a lot of other places too.

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Felt like drawing these three again. They're all part of the Cosmos Corps, but Lillian and Astra knew each other back before they ever came to Elseways - they're the two last survivors of their own homeworld. They also both used to be human back then, but lost their bodies in the same incident that ended their world. The Corps, much smaller then, picked them up from floating in the void and gave them new bodies (which they had some say in) and a place to stay in the new city they were building.
Neena, meanwhile, was recruited by Lillian when the latter came to apprehend her before she could unleash a plague of mutant biotes on the world. Neena didn't have any higher purpose for her life at that point, but being able to save lives has given her one.

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Some assorted Elseways sketches. Astra grooving to some music in the corner - her public persona as a serious and kind of uptight Champion of Justice is tiring and sometimes she just needs to cut loose. Xacli sitting on a stool. And, on the right, it's Blit after being given his own physical "meatsuit". The sensation of being able to run his fingers through his mohawk is something he's never actually felt before. He's also shorter and skinnier than Glitch like this; it doesn't usually come across because he levitates most of the time, but Blit's actually pretty small.

Thinking about Xacli again. I can’t picture a voice for him, and I’m starting to think he may not have one. Either that or he just very rarely speaks. I also find the idea amusing of getting practiced enough with his innate power to have “remodeling breath”. Temporary transformation of buildings. So he can make doors in walls, seal off hallways, or even build temporary stairs.

Probably not going to get to a sketch tonight - it's been a busy day and I've got stuff to get to in the morning. Work is wrapping up on a big project, so sketch updates might be a little spotty for a while.

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The journey's changed her. She's still as detail-oriented and perceptive as her job requires, but she's learned that there's another way to look at the world. She can turn that part of her off, and be comfortable for once. The new outfit helps, too.

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At Studio 609, the private firm she does more experimental stuff in than the Corps allow, Neena returns Glitch to her digital form. Her physical body goes into stable storage for the next time Glitch wants to wear it. Which may be soon - next time she can get a few days off from work, anyway.
But she's learned a lot from the experience. She's going to petition Blit to maybe upgrade the world they live in to include some actual flavors and textures, for one. More importantly, she's realized that perfection doesn't actually matter as much as she thought. Nothing and nobody in the outside world are, so there must be room for at least a little error. Even in the System.

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