Tasha Mukanik

Dromia, Part 2

Click here for part one.

Now that we’ve been introduced to the world of Dromia and some of its creatures, it’s time we take a look at the Dromia themselves.

This was the first concept I made for the Dromia. Since drawing them more, much has changed, but this still gets across most of the ideas.

As mentioned in the last part, Dromia are descended from the small raptors of the Cretaceous. They are often a russet brown, though markings and colour can vary between individuals. The feathers on their wings have diminished greatly to allow better manipulation by their fingers, which are much more dexterous. The dew claw on their feet is also lengthened and flexible, allowing some grip abilities. Ultimately the important development with these guys is their brains–as much as Dromians rely on their claws and teeth, they also are innovative with tools.

Unfinished sketch of a northern Dromian, being spotted by a Polar Tyrant. I could never decide if I wanted Dromians to have the fan-tails or not. Perhaps they grow them during certain times of the year…

When it comes to lifestyles, the Dromia are pretty split between three different regions: northern, western, and southern.

Northern Dromians are more scattered, eking out their lives in family groups and/or farmsteads, where they raise enough food to last the winter, and hunker down for the coldest months. The north has the most dangerous predators–Polar Tyrants, Carns, Fangbirds–so a life here is a hard one. The biggest permanent settlement here is a town called Bad-River, nestled into cliffs in the badlands. It’s a big trading hub where most of the farms gather to sell/trade their wares. Bad-River is generally a communally run space, but the last few years have seen some leaders rising up to take the reigns–something not very characteristic of northern Dromian communities. These leaders are rumoured to be aligned with the rising cult, the Hands of the Gods, but such accusations will not be taken lightly. The north is where the protagonist of Dromia, Firefly, hails from.

Firefly with a row in tow.

Western Dromians make their homes along the coasts, and probably spend most of their lives out sea on their boats. Their feathers ever coated in saltwater, and their spirits free and daring. There are more towns and cities here compared to the north, with elaborate docks stretching out into the ocean. It’s here that another protagonist, No-Tail, comes from.

No-Tail, a character in Dromia, wearing a southern warrior helm made from bone and Rockhide skin, and a Tyrant-tooth spear.

The south is where Dromians claim to have been born, and where their hearts truly lie. Here is where you can find the rich culture and history of the Dromia, with larger, elaborate cities, and higher populations. Though dangers here do exist, as they always do, they aren’t as terrifying as the giant predators of the north, making the south a relatively safer place to live. Though death must come for every Dromian, and it is in death that they revere, and also deeply fear.

Variations of Dromians with some body mods, as well as Hands of the Gods cultists.

The Dromia believe in a small pantheon of death gods. These gods all represent a different way a Dromian might die–therefore they believe, at some point, a certain god will chose them and take them to the afterlife. Some say a god picks you at birth, and waits for the right time to claim you; others say the gods squabble with each other over you until one is the victor. Either way, it is inevitable that the gods will claim you (or… so was thought.)

The pantheon consists of:

  • The God of Hunter and Hunted: death by a predator, or a hunting mishap
  • The God of Storm and Sea: death by a weather catastrophe, or being lost at sea
  • The God of Wounds and Illness: death by disease or fatal wounds
  • The God of Misfortune: death by any unfortunate mishap, a catch-all for anything not covered by the others
  • The God of Time: death by old age

The gods are deeply respected and also feared–god worship is generally not so much a thing, as invoking their presence is not what a Dromian community would want. It’s common for most Dromian settlements to have godly wards at their entrances, to prevent the gods from entering their towns. However, it is considered rude to ward off every single god, and doing so may make the gods act in spite. Therefore these wards often will permit entry to one god, which is always the God of Time–the most peaceful death.

“Magic” is a newer development in Dromian society, originating in the south. Often magic is tied to kinder subjects like healing, but recently it has been co-opted by a band of cultists who call themselves the Hands of the Gods. These cultists have unlocked the power of necromancy, bringing back creatures from the clutches of the gods. This is both a terrifying but also curious idea for most Dromians–most agree that the gods are not to be trifled with, but the idea of stealing back from them is incredibly tempting. The cultists paint their head feathers white to look like bone, and they have dug their talons into many of the large towns all over the continent. Their leaders are all Dromians who have returned from the dead, with skeletal features. Their grip has only lessened in recent times since their founder has vanished.

Returning life from the dead is fickle, though. Try as they might, even the masters can never manage to bring back someone completely, only pieces. Often these pieces are only what the necromancer knows, but that can never be the full picture. These returned Dromians, therefore, are often shallow–a hollow form of what they used to be.

A magic-using Dromian.

 

Summoning a Dromian back from the dead.

This sets up the story for Dromia, following Firefly as she leaves her lonely farm life and into the fray of cults and gods. This project has always been a strange one for me, in that it’s given me a lot of highs and lows. It’s firmly a side project, and I can easily go months leaving it abandoned, sometimes thinking I won’t return. Somehow, though, I find myself drawn back and add another few thousand words to its word count. I’m a bit rusty when it comes to prose writing, though, and self-doubts have plagued me a lot during this whole thing, despite it being just a project done for fun. Maybe someday the written version of Dromia will exist (if so, I definitely plan to illustrate parts of it). Maybe it won’t, and the only remnants I’ll have are these blog posts. But at least I’ll have them to show what work I did put in, and prove to myself that I did indeed enjoy the ride.

To end it, here are pretty much all of the rest of the sketches and works I’ve made in regards to Dromia.

Thanks for reading!

Digital works

  1. No-Tail and Firefly
  2. A more stylized No-Tail and Firefly
  3. No-Tail, made for OC-tober
  4. Firefly, made for OC-tober
  5. These two again, a bit more slimmed down–perhaps in their summer coats?

Inks

  1. A Dromian with a hooked spear, made from the sickle-claw of a fallen Dromian.
  2. Exploring headwear.
  3. A pair of Dromians hunting a large Nimble.
  4. A Dromian fights off a hungy Fangbird trying to get a taste of its Row.

Sketchbook

  1. Sketches of two Dromians
  2. A detail sketch of a Dromian
  3. A Dromian riding on a Stilt
  4. More studies… with a random croc?
  5. Firefly and No-Tail
  6. A Dromian faces off against an angry Carn
  7. Run ins with cultists…

2 thoughts on “Dromia, Part 2

  1. Winter

    //whispers I’ve been watching you develop this story and yet and YET I still didn’t know about all these fun little details ;;A;; I’m always in awe of how much thought you put into your concepts <3

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