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When I first read the description for this area, I immediately imagined they're some kind of alpine version of the deep sea hydrothermal vents - aka the white or black chimneys. I love those bizarre deep sea things, and have been trying to envision how would those hydrothermal vents look like when combined with the Alps. It's really tricky, and the vertical aspect of those vents makes it really hard to see where the Horneaters would put any sort of city or crops fields on. As I keep researching, I eventually came across alpine hot lakes in the Andes mountains, and decided to change direction and go with something like an extinct conical volcano chain that has turned into lakes. The imagery would be more familiar, and the slopes would mean imaginable cities and civilization such as the Machu Picchu. I decided to try and do the phototexture workflow in pursuit of that Skyrim look. It's not there yet, but can't expect mastery after 1 week!  There is a bigger version with no text overlay here : https://www.artstation.com/artwork/y9oLn
Here is my visual interpretation of the Imperial Prison (or more like: a part of it), designed to keep forgers locked up securely. As I am not sure how many of you here about behind the scenes/concept work for the entertainment industry, a short explanation: The photo references on the side are additional explanation and texture information for people who might translate the 2D concept into a 3D work (i.e. for a computer game or animated movie). In this case there are obviously not for any real production but as I am using this as a portfolio project, that's how I am going to present it anyway.
© Johanna Rupprecht (Lyraina)
Alright, I just had a crazy thought about another purpose of magic (or at least a side effect) in the Cosmere. I was just reading a transcript by Blightsong while at OdysseyCon earlier this year. At one point, Blightsong asks Brandon if magic occurs on Sel because there was a stronger cognative presence in certain areas than others. Between that and Brandon's answer, that threw me off into a tangent about the nature of the storms that renews Stormlight across Roshar. On Roshar, flora especially has evolved to survive the hurricane force power of the storms; the farther away from the initial landfall, the less mutated the flora has become. In Shen, the grass is just grass like we know it instead of the flora capable of hiding whenever anything brushes against it. I believe that magic in the Cosmere acts as a catalyst for life and diversity. It is a method through which evolution perpetuates survival on not only Roshar, but on every planet in the Cosmere. On First of the Sun, an invested parasite exists that we know promotes survival traits in various species of birds. It is also likely there is another parasite (if not the same one) that allows other creatures to hunt by sensing thought patterns. Nalthis exhibits (to our knowledge) a single jungle environment which has culminated in the Tears of Edgli, a plant capable of producing superior dyes in a world where magic uses the pigmentation of color as part of what powers it. This effect of magic seems to be further exemplified in worlds where there are either no Shards or worlds where shards have been shattered. In such places, the Shardpools that exist seem to act as points where life and change are kicked into overdrive. Again, on First of the Sun, it is only at Patji's Eye that the magical parasite exists. On Elantris, Devotion's Shardpool acts as a focal point around which the Shaod effects those tied into the region (those with Arelon blood). On Roshar, the Shardpool in the Horneater Peaks allows only those with Horneater blood to enter and live. It seems likely that Rock's ability to see spren and whatever else he can do is associated with that Shardpool. As spren play a strong role in the magic of Roshar, it is probable that the abilities Rock possesses will aid in the survival of the Horneater people and all of Roshar because of an evolution of Rock's people we haven't seen yet. So there it is - my crazy, wild idea about a side effect of magic in the Cosmere. Feel free to rip it apart now!