(Petitioner githzerai [he/him] / Sensate / CG)

“Kilhans is an amiable enough blood, though he’s prone to fits of wistfulness. See, this cutter’s only really half with us at any time; the other half of his mind is soaring over the planes of the Great Ring or crouched in a hidey-hole in the Lower Planes. Kilhans is an artist first and foremost, and a petitioner second: He reckons that nothing’s too risky for the ultimate sight which should produce the ultimate portrait. How do I have such an insight into Kilhans’ way of thinking? Simple: He and I travelled together when we traversed the Great Road that first time. Ah, the sights and smells we experienced! Makes a body weak at the knees just thinking about it…

“From the proceeds of one of our more successful ventures selling water on Athas, Kil bought himself a kip in the Cage. Shortly after moving in, he discovered that the boarded-up window in his studio was in fact a shifting portal. Each night at antipeak the other end of the portal jumps to another location, and according to Kil, it’s never pointed to the same place twice. Better still, the portal’s permanently open, and gives a grand view of events and scenery on the other side. Kil used to wander to find his inspiration — now it comes right to his door; he calls the place the Studio of Infinite Vistas. Of course, there are times when a dangerous beast or two stumbles through into Kil’s studio, but he soon wised up to that and now has a couple of magic wands amongst his paintbrushes to blast the leatherheads back where they came. Right now Kil’s working on a series of portraits of the planes…some of his work’s already been exhibited in Magnum Opus Musée Arcane.

“Unlike most Cagers, Kil’s actually a petitioner. Though he doesn’t know anything about his past life, of course, Kil somehow ended up in Songsheight, the realm of Laerme the Cerilian power of art, fire and love. I rescued him on one of my Arborean jaunts from a lifetime of painting Olympian scenery. The cutter hasn’t looked back since.

“While Kil’s usual artistic fare are landscapes, or rather, planescapes, he’ll rattle off the occasional portrait for the right amount of jink. The picture that Magnum Opus so proudly hangs in her museum is one of his, as is the self-portrait above. It’s pretty accurate; he’s a sallow-skinned githzerai, usually armoured and armed (just in case that slaad ever tries to step through his portal again!), always looking at the world from an angle (not just his tilted head, either).

“They say the cutter was taught how to draw by a blind beholder; unlikely-sounding perhaps, but in fact the same chant is spun about that other famed Cager artists Xib the Bleaker. Kilhans clams up whenever I mention Xib’s name; whether that’s because he’s merely envious of the barmy artist or whether there’s some deeper-lying tale to be told, perhaps I’ll never know. I think there’s more to it than meets my eye, at least.

“One of his more recent portraits was of the Astral, I’m told, and while Kilhans is cagey about his customers even with trusted friends, the chant goes that is was snapped up by Pristine of the Will of the One very quick indeed (though the mysterious Marchosias Chou tried in vain to bid against the fraction, presumably so he could splash the thing across the front page of SIGIS, his newsrag). Perhaps that portal of Kil’s happened to open up near Aoskar’s drifting corpse, and it showed some inkling of being alive. It wouldn’t be the first time that portal of his has showed something topical, and therefore valuable. Kilhans always makes a point of contacting anyone who the portrait might interest first, in case they want to buy it before he shows it publicly. Rumour also has it that the Harmonium faction recently paid several thousand pieces of platinum to the artist for a day’s work…nobody’s sure why, though it was Malkalotl who delivered the jink and made off with the painting. It has not been seen since.

“While Kil is a friend and all, I sometimes have my doubts about that portal of his. Barring those bashers who stumble the wrong way through Kil’s portal, precious few other have ever seen it in action, myself included. Lissandra the Gateseeker’s always trying to woo her way into Kilhans’ Studio of Infinite Vistas so she can study the portal, but the stubborn artist steadfastly refuses, saying his portal is not for public consumption. Sector Anacoluthon of the Xaoticians has also petitioned Kilhans for some time alone with the portal so he can study its random fluctuations, but with no success so far. In fact, just about the only basher who Kil’s let into his studio is Traloc Multiplet, the sharn, though powers only know why she’s a favourite of his.

“I’ve also heard (and passed on to Kil) the chant that the enigma known as the Grixitt has his eye on the studio as well. Maybe he figures that it’s important in the scheme of things and has to be slammed shut (though who anyone who says he can read the mind of the Grixitt is a liar or a damn sight more sneaky than the door-closer himself). But I do occasionally wonder if the portal really exists, at least in the way Kil claims…why else would he be so sodding secretive about it? It’d surely be easy to make up vistas and paint ’em, basing them on sensitive issues so as to maximise their value. But then I’m a mate, and I shouldn’t cast such aspersions.

“Unless, however, there’s something even more dark going on. Lately, Kil has gone half-way to meeting some of the demands to use his portal; for a fee he’ll paint a scene from a plane of a cutter’s choice. Perhaps he’s figured out some way of influencing the destination of the portal, in which case it’s a doubly unique thing, and surely a valuable asset indeed…”

— Soma Purusha, explorer

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Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

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