Really excited about this fantastic commission by Wings-and-Strings!
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Art by: Wings-and-Strings (FA) Wings-and-Strings (Twitter)
I really wanted something different here, a bit of in-universe painting of a historical event for my setting. Nothing directly pertaining to anything going on in my own work but rather just adjacent. I had really wanted to put together an in-universe bit of text to go along with it, but found myself kind of struggling with that. Unfortunate, but ultimately I decided to include what I have:
Excerpt from "Memoirs of a Lonely Museum Curator":
"This is a special painting. Though the events of a war that unified the 9 nations of their world have long since passed into history and legend, few stories manage to recaptured the imagination of the public so consistently as this curious event towards the end of the war. It is, by my estimate, exemplar of the ever-warm embers that lay within each of us which ignited the war. When stoked sufficiently, they consume all peoples as fuel for its fervor, fury, and flames. They must be periodically doused with reality, but paradoxically to bury them completely invites them to spring forth again unabated when we are unprepared. In that respect, this fabulous piece illustrates those embers' warmth and its history clues us into the typical inflammation pattern."
"Popular legends grew around a mad admiral who lost their fleet and became trapped in the enemy's grandest shipyard. With no option but eventual capture, he conceived of an audacious plan. Despite their protests his engineers, marines, and sailors reluctantly complied. The movies say they extend the railways to the harbor in a night. The novels say it took only a week to build the contraption in the drydock and another to haul it all out. The video games say they drove their landship screaming down 15 rows of track straight into the capital's palace, guns blazing, while the emperor was having tea!"
"Of course, the historians say "That's stupid! Diplomacy ended the terrible great war." Though only the cranks dispute that much, the truth of this particular even remains uncertain. The event was first memorialized in this painting, nearly 100 years after the even and to much fanfare. The old Admiral (or a close descendant on his behalf) is said to have been at the unveiling or even possibly the original commissioner. Many details have been lost over the nearly two millennium since, though its periodic resurgence has invited many subsequent examinations (and likely exaggerations). We know the eccentric admiral was prone to exaggeration himself and no doubt some of most prime of primary sources are affected by this to some degree. He is know to be a relative of the empress and his rare blue-morph keys us to suppose he is D. Plomahtisks, though he gets conflated with the name Balodis (or possibly a middle name or even a corruption of his unknown first name, always signed D.) He was known to claim descent from the semi-legendary-even-in-his-time Queen Kazoks, herself reportedly a blue-morph. It's not impossible he was alive for the unveiling but First-Middle period scholars cast doubts on it. Likewise, they suggest the truth of the events are much less dramatic, owing to archaeological evidence a shallow canal with comparatively fewer rail lines drawn on either side as opposed to the many rows that bound the cities in their time. First-Late period investigations poke a few holes in that theory as well. But, comedy movies of the period do still enjoy subverting the expectation. The grand old ship, harnessed to comparatively fewer trains, dragging it a few miles before it gets stuck sideways, and falls almost on its side. The flummoxed admiral orders one artillery barrage vaguely in the direction of their objective (pushing the ship entirely sideways, though lighter stories have him aim at the ground in an attempt to right it and instead fling them all into the emperor's palace or some such). All before loading the rest of his able-bodied men on to the trains to attack the city proper. Invariably, these stories reconvene on the true path of history afterwards. The Mad Admiral and his mollified men are captured almost immediately. The unbelievably lucky blind shot (and this much has been verified in official records, though where the shot was fired is lost) is found to have detonated an enormous ammo dump in the supposed-untouchable Capitol's military district. The Comedies tends to omit the death of The Lonely Emperor's only heir while inspecting the ammunition supply. Many stories further ignore the opening of diplomatic discussions the event is thought to have precipitated, as well. They forget that nobody won that war. No one nation even came close while others were ground to powder by it. Invariably, when those messages are forgotten, the flames rekindle."