It was a chilly autumn morning and Zera had set about cleaning her art studio in Grimace City. The space used to be an old theater leased to her by Abel Cross, so calling that it was a studio didn’t do it justice. A converted loft lead to a living area including a bedroom, bathroom, and small kitchen with a two person table situated so it overlooked the workspace below. Towards the back of the rented space there was an open space large enough to house a gallery to showcase work. As Abel had put it, it was large enough to hold two large sized dragons with room to spare so the space was perfect for the tiny artist.
The redhead opened a window and shivered as the brisk air helped to clear out the stale scent of solvents as well as drying acrylic and oil paints. The same breeze that brought in fresh air caused papers on the artist’s desk to dance and flutter before coming loose and flittering about the room. One particular stubborn piece fell behind the desk and came to rest curved up against the wall, the bottom edge mockingly hard to reach from the opposite side of the sprawling desk. With a groan, Zera goes to collect the sketches and notes that scrawled across the pieces of paper. Most of them are rounded up rather easily with the exception of that stubborn one that fell at the back of the nook in which the desk snuggly fit. Peering under the desk, the artist reached into the gap between the floor and the bottom of the desk as she tried to grab the obstinate piece of paper.
“Aw, vini yon ti kras. I’ve almost got you,” she said trying to stretch her arm as far as she could underneath the side of the desk with the lowest drawers. Naturally, it couldn’t have fallen on the side that could have been easy to reach. Zera bit the edge of her bottom lip as she tried to eek out a couple more centimeters of reach from her left arm. Finally, the tip of her middle finger barely touched the edge. “Yes!” she exclaimed as she dragged the paper back into the right of the room.
The page was old and yellowed, its creased edge ragged from repeated folding. Zera took a seat as she opened it up to take a look at what was written on the sheet that had previously received so much attention. “Oh, I haven’t seen this in years.” She smiled softly to herself as she remembers putting together the concept. Many years ago, during her early years of traveling, she went to a symphony for Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. What pictures would she show if she were to do such a thing? Which pieces of her art would she show to depict her life? She wondered, would it be best to do her life as a whole or just the key pieces that represented her past? Whatever she did, it would require coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
The petite artist went about organizing more papers and sketchbooks as the aroma of coffee danced around the air along with the coffeemaker’s percolated rhythm. When it was finished she poured herself a cup and sat it down on her desk. The aforementioned piece of paper was now weighed down by a chipped porcelain cup containing paintbrushes of varying sizes lest it go on another adventure behind the desk. Zera went to a nearby bookcase where numerous paperbacks and hardcovers filled the shelves. The books of fiction and nonfiction alike were lined up like the the various heights of buildings that bordered a busy city street. She dragged a step stool over with one foot to the bookcase so she could reach the higher shelves. It was moments like this one that caused the woman to curse her small stature. Being 4’8” and weighing nearly 80 pounds soaking wet definitely had its limitations.
Her fingers danced along the spines of the sketchbooks as she searched for the volume she was thinking of. One of these days she really needed to mark the spines with the dates and locations of the volumes to make finding particular works a little more streamlined. After a moment of searching, her fingers tipped back the ridged spine of a merlot colored sketchbook. The top edge showed signs of yellowing under a thin layer of dust that had collected. It had been a while since she looked through this book. It was the first one she had gotten after being forced to leave her former home of Kotlwes behind. While she has enjoyed her time on Hellifyno thus far nothing could compare to the beautiful contenant of Etamara.
Sketchbook in hand, Zera stepped down from the stool and sat down in the chair at the ornate desk. Not one to sit properly when she was thinking, she had one leg hanging downward while the other was bent, her barefoot on the edge of the seat with her shin resting against her desk. After taking a sip of her coffee, the golden eyed woman turned her attention to the old book. The leather bindings creaked in protest as the cover was opened. The flyleaf had long since started to tear away from the inner hinge of the book. Along with all the other things she needed to do, she also needed to digitize her work – something that would also help with the cataloguing of the works.
With a soft sigh, Zera turned the first page. She studied each piece as she glances at the pages. Old friends. Scenery. Regional Architecture. Encounters with various creatures. Page after page evoked emotions from the woman ranging from soft chuckles to wistful sighs to furrowed brows and feelings of loss. She occasionally sipped her coffee and made notes on a sheet of paper. Rarely she took a strip of sticky paper and adhere it to a page, marking it on a short list of possible works to use. Hours later, she was sitting on the floor, a circle of open sketchbooks and loose sketches surrounding her. She stood and turned in a slow circle to view the art and nodded to herself. Before her laid the prelude of her exhibition. Her next step would be to transfer the pieces that evoked such strong emotions to canvas.
Thus, the tale of how Kalina de Lautreamont became known as Zera La Fae and journeyed to Hellifyno has begun.