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Azuth65

Artistic sharing (IC)

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Victoria Knight sat on one of the comfortable benches within The Kirby Museum of Fine Arts, her sunglasses covering her eyes despite the fact she was indoors. The recent science fiction and fantasy themed showing attracting the young teleporting heroine and aspiring artist to the museum like a moth to a flame. She had propped on one knee a sketchbook where she worked at translating one piece of a dragon sleeping atop it's pile of gold into her own style. "This should make a good illustration to handout next session," she half whispered to herself as her pencil flew across the page.

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Rene wandered the Art Gallery admiring some pieces, mumbling his contempt at others, and making sure others knew about his aching back and hips at every venture.

He was pleased to note they even had one of his pieces here, donated by himself. He was irritated to note it was tucked away in a back corner.

"Philistines!" he muttered.

Wandering on, he came to the science fiction and fantasy showing.

"Rubbish!"

"Awful!"

"Assassins!"

He commentated, carefully modulating his volume that just enough, but not too many, people could hear him.

Seeing a bench was fully occupied, he stood by it, wincing in made up agony.

"Oh my poor hips! my knees are bent, my eyes are old and grey!" he moaned, doubling over as far as he could get away with.

When a space was made, he hopped onto it with some vigour.

Casting his gaze around, he saw the sketchwork of Victoria Knight.

"Not bad" he commented.

"Subject matter not ideal, of course, but you have a grasp of the technique!"

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Vicky looked over at the old man who had settled down next to her while her focus had entirely been on her sketching, "Oh, thanks. And you're right, it isn't ideal, the sketch probably could use something extra but I'm probably just going to use this as a handout for my gaming group's next session. If I was taking this particularly seriously, it'd be more than a rough pencil sketch. I'd probably go all out with the inks and markers, or maybe see what I can do with Photoshop."

As she spoke her leg shifted and knocked her messenger bag over, spilling out her hardbound binder which contained completed drawings, as well as a handful of pencils onto the floor. "...Super," she grumbled as she began to gather them up.

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" I'd probably go all out with the inks and markers, or maybe see what I can do with Photoshop."

"Ah yes, Photoshop, Madame" nodded Rene Sagely, pretending to know what the young woman was talking about. "A very good outlet, that...err...I shop there often...give my regards to the owner...errr...."

He coughed slightly, and scratched his goatee, looking left and right to check nobody was listening.

As the pencils flew across the floor, he bent over to help the young lady pick them up.

"And tell me, where are you studying your art, madam? or are you merely a talented amateur come to soak in this museum?"

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"Never heard of the photoshop store, I meant the computer image software. It helps the unskilled look like they can draw and supplies the digital tools to make anyone with talent or skill much better."

Taking a better look at the man as she stuffed supplies back into her bag, recognition flashed across her face, though it was hard for Rene to notice given her shades. "Well Mr. DeSeans, I'm taking sequential art classes as part of my high school's art program but this themed exhibition the museum has going on right now definitely has me here to soak in other artist's work, inspire some new ideas and refine some older ones," Vicky answered.

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"Never heard of the photoshop store, I meant the computer image software. It helps the unskilled look like they can draw and supplies the digital tools to make anyone with talent or skill much better."

"Pffahhh!" replied Rene. "I knew that!"

Rene was in equal parts flustered at his ignorance, and incensed at the new technology that was, in his opinion, corrupting the noble pursuit of brush, paint, and canvas.

"Well Mr. DeSeans, I'm taking sequential art classes as part of my high school's art program but this themed exhibition the museum has going on right now definitely has me here to soak in other artist's work, inspire some new ideas and refine some older ones," Vicky answered.

"Well, Mademoiselle, you appear to have the better of me..." he replied, his irritation at Vicky's use of 'Photoshop' evaporated at being recognised. "...and please call me Rene. Everyone does, unless they really Vex me. Or I am at some tiresome function or another. And it always a delight to see someone young take up the pursuit of art, no matter in how small or large a way!"

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Vicky quirked an eyebrow at his reaction to her explaining Photoshop. She quickly settled her face back into a pleased expression, "My name's Victoria but my friends call me Vicky," she replied, extending a hand, "A pleasure to meet you Rene."

"Well, I got into drawing thanks to one of my other hobbies, role-playing games. At first it was just basic sketches of what my character looked like or how a piece of equipment was shaped but as I got more experience the rest of the group started asking me to draw their characters. By the end of my time with them back in Chicago, I was able to trade my skills for a couple bucks or somebody to cover my part of the food delivery bill. Starving art, bah," she finished with a slight smirk.

With her supplies and book back in the bag she slung it over one shoulder and sat back down on the bench to finish the dragon's loot picture. "I don't suppose you know anyone looking for someone to commission work from my particular genre?"

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"I don't suppose you know anyone looking for someone to commission work from my particular genre?"

"Hmmm..." Rene answered thoughtfully. "It's not quite my area, young lady, I am more of ze classical field you understand. Impressionism, portraits, landscapes, although I do...dabble...in other areas. Art must always expand to new horizons!"

Except photoshop!

"But, I certainly have some contacts, dealers, that sort of thing. I ask a few people, keep my ears open, if you wish. Hmmm, the art of the fantastical is it? all sorts of magical creatures?"

Zombies....werewolves...demons....all the things I have seen!

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Running a hand through her long white hair before nodding, "Zombies, demons, Jedi, stuff that non-superheroes don't see outside of comicbooks, movies, or video games," Vicky agreed. "But please Rene, don't trouble yourself looking for any work for me. I mean, someday I'd like to be able to draw pictures or my own graphic novels for a living but it isn't something I need to rush into. I should probably finish highschool first, you know?"

She finished the sketch and closed the little sketchbook, sticking it back into her bag. "However, I'm not exactly done soaking in the exhibit. Care to join me on my tour?"

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"Why not?" said Rene, getting to his feet.

"Just bear in mind that I am a helpless old man..."

He paused, looking left and right to make sure this was sinking in to his audience.

"...and I may not be able to keep up, and need to sit down. I am very old and helpless, you know. Not like you kid's..."

He stretched and rubbed his bag, making sure he put on a face of pain. He opened one eye a crack and peeped around, to make sure Vicky was noticing his show.

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Vicky nodded, "We can take as much of a, and as many, breaks as you need." She walked down the halls, stopping to marvel at the blown glass replica of Bilbo and later Frodo Bagins' sword Sting that sat in a case next to a small statue of a wizard, complete with staff and pointy hat, made of chiseled white marble. Further down the exhibit was a painting that made her stop dead in her tracks.

It was of... her. She stood before a half-ruined castle wearing a breastplate under what looked like wizard robes, holding a rune covered longsword in her hand while the wind whipped her loose hair behind her. The plaque beneath the painting stated it was anonymously donated, the artist was unknown. "That's... that's just damn freaky."

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Rene stopped at the painting when Vicky remarked on it.

"Oui, it's not particularly good, ze perspectives are a little off, you can see ze...hold on..."

He took a few steps closer and readjusted his spectacles, examining the central figure.

"Forgive me Mademmoiselle, my eyesight is not as it once was, but this figure, it bears an uncanny resemblance to you, does it not? quite uncanny! do my eye's deceive me?"

He turned around to give Vicky a curious look, peering over his spectacles. "You do not look that old... but then appearances can be deceptive, mmmh?"

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Vicky let out a choking sound, "Oh God no," she spurted in Russian. Switching back to English she tried again, "Sorry. No, I'm not that old. If I was, do you think I'd still be in highschool? I'd be coasting on a massive bank account backed by a substantial amount of leftover gold coins and antiquities." In a much lower voice she half said, still staring at the painting, "Still, they even got the eyes right..." Indeed, the eyes of the young woman in the painting were dots of red in small seas of black.

Dragging a hand across her face she groaned, "This is like something off a bad TV show. Or out of a cheesy novel."

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"Oh God no,"

"

This is like something off a bad TV show. Or out of a cheesy novel."

"Or it has some deeper meaning..." Rene squinted at the bottom of the painting. "No name, unknown artist... I cannot place ze style... it is flawed, but not without merit...something odd, but of import here. Sometimes art can show as what was, what might be, or what could have been..."

"Or what we dream of..."

He shrugged. "Or sometimes it is just art. But that..." he pointed a gnarled finger at the painting "...is you, I am certain of it!"

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"No, never been but my mother was born and raised in Moscow," Vicky explained, "My parents raised me in a bi-lingual household. It came in handy back when I played soccer. I shared just enough of the language with the team so that when we did our pre-game cries in Russian, it freaked our opponents out. Cheap but effective."

"She certainly looks like me," she half muttered. "And I'll be honest, I have this horrible sinking feeling that if I touched it or even look at this one too long I'll end up whisked off to a parallel universe full of magic and monsters, dragons and necromancers, and probably a lengthy, deadly quest to get back home. That's how it usually works if I know my tropes." Even still, she felt inspired by the warrior-wizardess version of herself in the painting. Her imagination began to build steam in the back of her mind.

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Rene peered at the painting once more.

"Well that is almost asking for it to be touched then, non?" asked Rene with a devilish chuckle.

"Although I think our friend over there might consider that vandalism..." he nodded towards the green coated security guard who was now eyeing up the two heroes.

Rene lowered his voice a little. "It might not be the best idea..." he said, patting his nose. "But instead, a bit of detective work, eh? find out who painted this, where it came from?"

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"Oh trust me, I have no intention of touching the painting," Vicky said, putting her hands behind her back and taking a step back as the security guard eyed them. "Like I said, monsters, dangers, quests... Not how I planned on spending what's left of my summer vacation." She moved to a nearby, and handily empty bench and sat, massaging her temples. "I guess finding the curator for this exhibit would be a good start. Seeing if he or she knows anything that the folks who selected it didn't want being put out on display with the painting itself."

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A few minutes later...

"I am sorry, I can't seem to find any records..." replied the curator, a slightly portly man, whose name badge identified him as Mr. Crux. He was in his fifties, with a moustache, his own hair, and thick black spectacles.

He had allowed an audience with Rene, who he knew by reputation, but he was also rather busy. He had given a cursory check on the museums computer and come up with nothing.

"...it's a bit of a mystery. Unknown artist, good workmanship, though, I am sure you concur, Mr. DeSaens, matches your own hehe. "

Rene nodded smiling as politely as he could manage.

"Yes indeed, a fine piece. It intrigues me Monsieur Crux. I would be most interested in finding out its history, where it came from, how the museum purchased it, that type of thing. If you could possibly spend the time to look into the matter, perhaps on the paper records, I would be most indebted to you. And I am sure our mutual goodwill between myself and the museum would be a desirable thing, non?"

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"Thank you for your time Mr. Crux," the young woman said, shaking the man's hand, making very sure to keep her strength in check.

As she and Rene left the man's office they passed a young blond boy in blue jeans and a purple shirt with a large Q on it. The child was staring at a painting of a spaceship hovering over a city, a blue beam radiating down from the underside and the city covered in ice. In a loud voice the child said clearly, "This is boooooring. The pictures don't even move." With a snap of his fingers, several pieces of art jumped to life. An eight foot tall, four-armed orc dressed in brown pants and a green dragonscale coat stepped out of a painting and almost immediately was attacked by a woman holding a [url= small pistol that gave the impression of being extremely deadly.

As other pieces came to life, the museum patrons scurried and ran for the exits.

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"Now then, now then..." muttered Rene as he adjusted his beret and pulled out his paintbrush.

"I have seen paintings come alive before, and no good comes of it..."

"...in general!" he winked at Vicky.

"But I think ze museum is no longer safe for you, and ze time has come for you to depart..." he said in a quiet, calm voice. He gazed around the fleeing visitors. "along with our fellow art appreciators. And I think that our animate paintings should be seen by the people..."

He started waving his paintbrush in the air, stroke after stroke, all intricate and detailed, as if painting onto the fabric of reality itself.

"...and not ze other way around!" he proclaimed.

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After the remaining museum employees and civilians had escaped unmolested by the living artwork, Vicky focused her will and a cloud of smoke surrounded her. When it dissipated in her place stood a fully costumed Wisp, her red eyes narrowed. "No, I rather think not," she said to the aged Frenchman.

She strode forward through the chaos of swordsmen clad in shining armor fighting with tentacled bio-tech monsters while elven archers shot arrows at human space-marines armed with blaster rifles. Once she stood before the blond child she looked down at the boy and in a heavily Russian-accented voice said, "Hey. Put the art back. Now."

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"Zut Alors!" exclaimed Rene at the sight of Vicky's transformation.

"Do my old eyes deceive me? But non! I think not! there is more to you than meets ze eye, I think!" he chuckled.

Rene tapped his chin with his finger. This was all very interesting to say the least. However, now that the civilians were out of danger he felt inclined to observe rather than act. The more one new what was going on, the less likely one was to put one's foot in it.

Youth, it seemed, was more impulsive.

"I'll just take a seat here, let you deal with it shall I, after all, I'm just a helpless old man..." he mumbled, taking a seat on the bench and carefully observing Vicky and the little blond boy with a beady eye or two.

This would be even more interesting.

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The young boy looked up at the heroine, though the look in his eyes was anything but childlike. They held powers that humanity was millennia from even beginning to understand, if it ever did. "I know you! Oh, this couldn't have worked out any better! Tell you what Lady, you and the old guy beat the opponent of my choice and I'll put everything back, good as new. You lose and you have to play with me some more. Don't bother saying no, you're not getting much choice."

As he finished a large man in a suit of platemail covered in runes and sigils glowing a soft yellow-orange stepped from the shadows and knelt next to the boy, "How may I serve thee, Lord Quirk?"

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"Dance, puppets, is it?" mumbled Rene.

He stood up very slowly, rubbing his back. As usual, he was keenly aware of how the vastness of reality. And how bigger vastness of unreality. And amongst such things, it was always best not to draw too much attention to oneself, and to down play ones importance.

"But I am just a helpless old man!" he muttered to the child. "Much as I would like to play, I am afraid your Knight would over power such me, I am far to weak and venerable. My back is bent, my hair is grey, my eyes are poor"

He rubbed a knee.

"And my knees, oh how they ache in winter!" he scrunched up his face in mock agony, and then popped open one eye to check the boy was watching.

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