Dear reader, today we are going to meet one of the greatest Fyros crafters that I know. His wood sculpting talent is unrivalled on Atys. I am all the more eager to interview him because he is currently working on construction sites on Fyros territory, so I hope he will be willing to share a few words with us.
Hello, Ibian. Thank you for allowing us to ask you a few questions. To begin with, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Ibian Pledix, and I live in Dyron and work as a bark sculptor.
When did you decide to become a bark sculptor?
Oh, well, I guess we can use the word "vocation". I can remember the day when my father offered me my first dagger jab. He hoped that I would follow in his footsteps and become a hunter like him. But he was thoroughly disappointed when he saw that, instead of hunting yubo, I spent my time carving bits of bark to make little wooden gingos and bodocs. Still, he did nothing to prevent me from leaving when I found a master crafter who was willing to teach me the art of woodcarving.
And what does it take to be a good wood sculptor?
I would say that you must be very meticulous and focused. The slightest error can ruin many days of work! One misplaced cut and your whole design is thrown off.
How long have you been practicing your art?
Well, it has now been more than forty years that I have been working in this profession. I became a Master Jeweler at the age of thirty, then I diversified into more ambitious work, especially in decorating and then in construction. Without boasting, I can say that I am still one of the best crafters on this side of the Bark.
Your work is indeed very admirable; how do you achieve such finesse? Which tools do you use?
You know, each crafter has his own little peculiarities. I happen to use jeweler's tools made of ragus bone. They are not as robust as wood shears made of kitin legs, but they are much finer and they allow more meticulous work.
And what are you working on right now?
Well, now that the Karavan have unveiled their sanctuary construction project, I can tell you about it openly: I am working on the plans for a sanctuary dedicated to Jena. Here - just before you arrived, I was putting the finishing touches on the miniature model of one of the columns, made up of thousands of different pieces. Of course, I will not be building the sanctuary myself. But there will be hundreds of homins working on this project, I hope.
And why are there plans for a Jena temple?
Well, there is an interesting story to that. Several weeks ago, while I was scraping some bark to collect raw materials, I found myself surrounded by a pack of gingos that I had been too busy to notice as they approached. I can still remember a moment of terrible pain - and then everything went blank. A total blackout. Then I heard a voice telling me that I had been chosen for a grand mission because of my talents and my devotion. Jena wished that I, Ibian Pledix, help her servants erect an edifice to her glory! The image of an amazing temple was impressed upon my mind, and I think that if I had been fully awake, I would have wept at such beauty! The voice spoke again and I can still remember the words: "Make the plans for this building, so that the homins may build it and thereby give glory to Jena, the one who shall soon save all of you!" I finally opened my eyes, and found that I was in the Dunes of Exile, near the Karavan altar. Had I merely dreamed? But the image of the temple reappeared to me suddenly, clearer than ever. My last doubts vanished when the Karavan host, who I knew well, came up to me and said, "Now you are blessed above all, Ibian. Jena has shown her faith in you today. I believe in you too, homin, and I know that you will not let her down."
Ibian had grown misty-eyed by the time he finished speaking, filled with adoration and his heart set on something that only he could see. The image of the temple must have appeared to him again. I left him to his thoughts for a moment, so he could collect himself.
Ibian Peldix, bark Sculptor - part two
We are now visiting with Ibian Pledix, sculptor emeritus, who is currently working on a very special project. Jena herself purportedly asked him to design her new temple in the land of Fyros.
You were telling us about the divine mission that Jena assigned to you. But aren't you worried about what other Fyros might think of you?
Well, I happen to be a Karavan follower. Oh, I understand that might surprise you! There aren't many of us, but there are some and we are very wary of Ma-Duk and the so-called "Kami Age". After all, where were the Kamis during the Kitin War? It is thanks to the Karavan that I have my life. But that isn't the question; my mother was raised in the Jena faith and, all through my life, I have never had reason to doubt her servants. I hope that my compatriots will respond to Jena's call as I have, so that this temple to her glory may be built.
So this is an act of devotion for you?
Yes, I believe you could call it that. Helping build this temple is a way for me to thank Jena for her good will and her protection. I also hope to help many homins contemplate the path of Jena's light, as I have. I am proud to work on this project. And too bad if some do not like it. However, I am not one of those fanatics who attack homins just because they might be Kamists. In any case, I would have a hard time mowing down the Fyros empire all by myself! (laughs)
And what is it like to be a Jena admirer in the midst of a group of people who are mostly Kamist?
Please do not misunderstand my words. It is not because I do not revere the Kamis that I do not trust in the Emperor. My life is first of all dedicated to the Emperor, even though I deplore the fact that he tends to favor the Kamis, far be it for me to criticize him. After all, Emperor Dexton has his reasons, and they are beyond the comprehension of a simple crafter such as myself. Anyway, that is how I put it. For the time being, I have not encountered any serious risks, but if my Emperor were to ask me to take up arms against the Karavan, I wonder what I would do... And, aside from my own seeking, it is not easy on an everyday basis. I have had my share of problems. It is no accident that I have chosen to practice my craft in the remote area of Dyron rather than in Pyr, where customers might be far more numerous. But here, at least, there are only the cloppers who bother me. Anyway, I hope that if Dexter decides to forbid the Karavan project, things won't go worse for me.
But why ask a homin to design this building? Can't Jena's servants design them?
Well, besides the fact that I consider it as a reward for my devotion to have been chosen, I think that they want to get homins to participate in this great work, and in order to do so, they need plans that all homins can understand. So who could be better suited to making them, other than a simple homin, especially if he is one of the best crafter on Atys? (smiles) Now I hope you will excuse me, but I must be getting back to work. I have to deliver the final plans tomorrow and if I want them to be as perfect as Jena, I had better get busy right now.