NEW 📗Story: School Photo

A Tzipora Christmas Story

Saturday, Dec 26, 2020

Pachinki is a world of Tzipora’s own creation, a dorky retreat from the difficulties she has in Vekllei. Tzipora always loved stories of wild places and adventure, and Pachinki blossomed organically from within her daydreams. Eventually she started writing and drawing it. When she was sad, bored or anxious, she would descend back into Pachinki’s world of ancient magic, edible gems and pirates.

A chapter she wrote in late November one year resembled her idea of a Christmas story, and so I’ve included a portion here to accompany this picture.

She wrote,

This story starts with the tale of a young Pilot Witch, whose job was to guide dead aircraft to safe airports in the shaky peace that followed the Black War. It had to be female witches, since men couldn’t see the dead. She would meet formations of heavy bombers and strike fighters stuffed with corpses out at sea and show them the safe paths to the landing strips, flying low and fast where the Palace Gods couldn’t see them. This was the safe part of the job, since the Palace Gods and Necropirates ambushed out at sea, where they could hide between the archipelagos. Over land, they were mostly safe. It was an important job. Without the witch’s guidance, these planes would navigate the world forever, circling overhead, still packed with bombs.

The witches would guide the dead airmen down to the ground, where they could finally be relieved of their duty and released with proper burial rights. The planes would be repaired and flown back to the royal palace in Lily. This young witch was glad it was once again peacetime; when the empires warred, they couldn’t keep up with the dead planes.

Once, she was told to meet a special transport delegation out at sea. They didn’t explain anything more. She flew out to the coast on her broom and the glint of a wingtip caught her eye. As it approached, her instinct flared with alarm. These were not dead planes — the crew in them were very much alive. She flew out and approached the largest aircraft in the formation, a transport bomber of a type she’d seen several times before. She landed atop the aircraft and made her way inside via a turret.

“What’s going on?” The witch asked, irritated at the break in procedure. The captain of the aircraft jumped at the noise, and straightened his shoulders as he addressed her pompously.

“You’re here to guide us, are you? We’re from the Palace, in Lily.”

“I understand that; I saw your markings. But why’s it any of my business?”

“What do you mean, witch? We need safe passage, don’t we?”

“That’s not my trade; what are you doing this far out? Do you have any idea how dangerous these archipelagos are?”

The captain snorted and resettled his cap.

“You know what time of year it is, don’t you? All five planets are above us, silly girl.”

“The other witches won’t like you coming in uninvited, I’ll have you warned.”

“It’s nearly the time for the festival. The Queen wants fine gifts for the Princess, and she won’t do with any old hat or dress. We’re part of a military attaché that’s spent the last six months searching the lands for the finest gifts in the world.”

“Gifts,” the witch said, betraying her surprise. “W-what sort of gifts?”

“Well, how about you head below deck and see for yourself. While you’re there, why don’t you pick something out? Provided we understand each other, of course.”

“Well, all right. Okay,” the witch said, and hurriedly turned away from the bridge.

A few minutes later, the witch was once again atop her broom, though somewhat unevenly under the weight of the largest gem necklace she’d ever seen. She couldn’t believe her luck; it was laden with Soup Gems, and they hadn’t been seen around here in nearly a hundred years. You only found them growing in the stomachs of the Kemi people, and they had been wiped out many eons ago. A gem like this would produce excellent powders, and make her very powerful for a time.

She resettled her pilot’s hat, and placed both hands on her broomstick. She felt the wind swirl around her as she shot to the front of the formation.

The witch depicted here looks awfully like Tzipora, and that’s no coincidence. Tzipora is always somewhere in her own stories. She writes herself in because she likes to imagine herself living among these people, flying on broomsticks and becoming a powerful witch.

These types of posts aren’t very regular, but they’re important for my health as an illustrator. Vekllei might be fantastical, but it’s a Cold War consumer society at the end of the day. Pachinki provides me (and Tzipora!) a fun holiday now and then, into a surreal world of planetoids and magic.

Let me know if you have any questions. You can read other Pachinki posts (quite old now) here and here. Also here and here. And here. That’s all of them, that’s all I’ve ever done. This project’s been going on for a while.

Merry Christmas.