(Planar tiefling fighter-thief [he/him] / Bleak Cabal / CN)

“Xib the Bleaker, eh? Now there’s an interesting cutter… I’ll tell  you the darks you want to know about him… for a drink! That’s right, basher, every blood’s got his price, and lucky for you, mine isn’t too steep… where was I?

“Oh yeah… I’ve known Xib probably as long as anyone else has… I don’t know where he’s from, and I think that he doesn’t know either, but then again, I’m not sure he could give a fhorge’s tusk about the matter anyways.

“I met him in Faunel, actually, about a month or two ago… I was walkin along, looking for some plant or vine or something that some silly prime wizard hired me to find for him, when I comes across a clearing, and in the middle, sketching something, is this basher all dressed in steely blue and black. He was workin’ feverishly on his drawing, and without disturbing him, I crept up gently an’ peeked over his shoulder. There in front of me were some of the most outstanding drawings I’d ever seen of Cagers — his drawings then reminded me of that other artist that runs around this burg nowadays, what’s his name, Kilhans? Both of ’em apparently schooled by the same master. Anyways, I saw his green hand pasue for only the slightest of moments while he registered my presence, before he went hurriedly back to work. He didn’t seem to care much if I was there or not. I started talking to him, trying to strike up some chatter, and it apparently worked, for he eventually set down his bit of charcoal and looked at me.

“I’m telling you, cutter, his eyes — I could see the madness in them, without him having to say anything.  They were the kind of haunted, wasting eyes that only those artisans who truly suffer can ever achieve. It was disconcerting, to say the least. And then when he spoke to me, I was mesmerized – he didn’t have anything extraordinary about him that caught my attention quite so much as the fact that there was always a hint of a laugh in his voice, but it was a bitter, sardonic laugh. He used flawless logic, but it always twisted around to point out a slightly dreary if not downright depressing and morbid outlook on life. I was talking to a tortured artist, but he seemed to pity me…

“Anyways, we talked until it began to get dark, then we headed for the nearby portal we had both used to get here, as it turned out, and then we stepped out into the dark, dismal twilight of Sigil.  He offered to take me to a bar he knew, a place called The Pentacle — newly reopened and excellent as before.  We went, had a few drinks (he was especially fond of Gehennan Firewater), and somehow or another we got on the topic of art… I asked him about his drawings, and out of a small bag by his side he whipped out several sketchbooks, all of which were filled to overflowing with pictures and observations, and a vast array of poetry, in my opinion, much more engaging than the rattling you’ll get from Morvun and Phineas

“He was perplexing to me, because I could not read what he was thinking — not that I pretend to have any mind reading tricks or anything, but because his eyes said one thing, his demeanor said another, and that perennial half smile of his, coupled with his mannerisms all produced a confusing image. His sketches were amazing — I saw pictures of the Factols, several drawings of Lissandra, who had, in the note Xib wrote to himself, sat down to be drawn in exchange for the dark on a portal in the Hive. In fact, the drawings and places in his sketchbook were of amazingly diverse locales, across the planes – behind a drawing of Khin Oin, on the Gray Waste, was a quick sketch of a sleeping leonal… How he ever managed to get to these places and what is more, draw these things is beyond me… He looked fairly amused that I was so impressed.

“Here before me was an incredible planewalker, who had traveled farther than Tarsheva Longreach, I’d wager…  and all he did was draw and write poetry?  He looked at a small strip of colored fabric wrapped around his wrist, which even before my eyes started changing color with the hour… I asked him what it was, and he grinned, and answered that he had picked it up from a prime blood named Alexander on one of his many “sabbaticals” — he referred to the thing as “Alexander’s rag time band”. Then he laughed maniacly, gathered up his books, and left, with an elaborate bow to all within the Pentacle.

“I was left there, confused as the Abyss, before I realized that he was mad. Not stark raving barmy, like the poor sods in the Gatehouse, but a more subtle, more dangerous kind of insanity — Xib is an artist, trying desperately to find himself in the swirling chaos of the multiverse. The small emblem he had emblazoned on his bag of books was that of Bleak Cabal, and he had the same slightly off setting way about him, too — I saw him again, a week or two ago in the Pentacle again — he sauntered in from a portal in the back dressed in outlandish clothes, whistling something absolutely, almost painfully beautiful…

“I asked him what it was, and his entire response was “Mozart”, whatever that means. He then made a sweeping declaration to the establishment about his next destination…the Hinterlands. I wished him luck, and with a gleam in his eye, and a flash in his smile, he grasped my hand and ducked through that doorway behind you that leads to the Outlands. After watching him go, I noticed that he had palmed something to me —  an original drawing and a poem, both about someplace I’d never heard any chant about, or ever seen on a map or anything. I’ve given a copy of it to Voilà!, so ask that blood if you want to see it…

“Thanks for the drinks, cutter… hope this chant was useful. For details on his adventures, I suggest you ask Xib himself, though.”

— Brillig Punjab, Arborean messenger / adventurer / recoverer in an interview with Nellik Skyelight, independent culler

See Also

  • Cage Rattlers:– Kilhans, Voilà!.
  • Uncaged: Faces of Sigil:– Lissandra (p.60), Morvun and Phineas (p.68).
  • Tarsheva Longreach is introduced in The Planewalker’s Handbook.
  • Mimir: The Pentacle.

Source: Phill Howard

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