I just discovered Keith Thompson's art, and wow. It's really beautiful - some a bit eerie, but beautifully eerie. Here are some of my favorites.
Necromancer: Madame Theodosia hearkens from the Aeolian islands and is part of a long lineage of necromancers. Growing up in a family with a long tradition of raising the dead, she was uncharacteristically shaken to learn of her barrenness, and in a rather emotional state vowed to give birth, if not to a new life, then to an already passed life. For this purpose she had found assistance in fashioning a steel, pressurised womb in which the souls of the freshly dead were to be trapped and condensed. This gestating entity came to be referred to in hushed tones as The Collect. The expectant mother now unnerves her followers with a detached resignation towards her eventual agonizing death; a necessity to feed her newborn babe in a self-sacrificial fashion akin to a mother spider.
Judith & Holofernes: Conviction took her as she approached the wretch; he lay swooned from drink and debauchery. She gripped him by the hair as she brought his own weapon down upon his neck. Halfway did it stop and and he lay there breathing quietly from the cleft in his throat. “Beast of land with tough neck as if of knotted wood!” she lamented. Again a blow rained down sending the head of Holofernes rolling from the bed and across the carpeted floor of his tent. “Glory! Glory! Glory!” crooned the scaled cherubs “do not settle as of yet, dear lady, bid your maid do retrieve the head and place it in a ration sack.” This she did, following the urges of the divine voices, and she rolled his body off the bed, and rent the canopy from its posts.
Scribe: A scrivener automaton working in a rather wealthy merchant's library. The arcane procedures for creating automatons are as varied as their appearance and roles in society (servitors, military, labour, prostitution, etc). The taxidermic use of cured human remains is legalised, economical and common place in their construction (similar to how the powdered wigs in our past often used the hair of corpses). However the practice of "rendering" down living persons into an automaton state is outlawed, it is frequently employed since the resultant product tends to outperform the legal alternative. The merchant who owns this particular scribe automaton has some very extensive paperwork detailing her conformity to all applicable regulation. Despite this assurance, those who deal with her have noticed how quickly she learns new tasks, and have caught her smiling when backs are turned.
Patron of Poor Minstrels: Proud arm in the pantheon of misfit gods. Her cacophonous playing offended all but her own misshapen taste. Mutilated, hanged twice, and wrists nailed to tree trunk by the other gods whose ears bled. On she played. And during that playing she gave life to a daughter never meant to tread the earth, and slain before birth.