Melissa Nasby
Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada

Judging Highlight:

“This is a very impressive use of fabric and fiber. As a fabric artist myself, I appreciate the technical skill and the beautiful use of colour and texture coming together to create a believable character.”
– Wendy Froud

Creature Backstory:

Dawn approaches over the distant mountains of Thra as Nym watches the sun come up through her round gnarled wooden window in her safe and secure dwelling in the Podling’s village. She is the Granddaughter of Kira and Jen, “The Chosen One”; bold, brave, creative, rebellious, stubborn and smart. It has been thirteen years since she was born, she never knew her mother, a Podling named Felu, who gave her life to bring Nym into this world. Her father, a Gelfling, the son of Jen and Kira, spends most of his days now quite happily tending his Nebries, and so she was raised mostly by her Grandparents. Jen taught her the history of Thra and how to read and write while her Grandmother Kira, whom she fondly remembers, patiently taught her wild little Granddaughter all she knew about the plants and animals of her world – how to converse and be one with all the flora and fauna of her environment.

She looks over at the snoring fluffball that lies at the foot of her bed, and smiles, “Oh Roowee”. His tail flicks sleepily in response but he does not waken.

The sun creeps into her sanctuary and she thinks of her Grandmother’s haunting last words to her, “You are the key Nym” – she involuntarily reaches her hand up to touch the piece of crystal that dangles from her left ear, a birth gift from Kira, so many moons ago now. A silent tear trickles down her cheek and she roughly brushes it away. Brusquely she rises and starts putting on her gear. She straps on her utility belt that holds her most precious items – her relics – in a pouch with her treasured notebook that contains all the information she has gathered in her secret adventures to the forbidden lands, and a tiny vial with some type of pale luminous liquid.

She roughly pulls back her unruly hair, fastening it with a hand stitched headpiece, ties her wool capelet on for warmth, and grabs her elaborate woven and mystical staff – poking Roowee with it as she heads for the door.

“We’re late”, she says, walking out the door as the furball on her bed responds only by slowly opening his eyes and yawning as he stretches and lazily flops off the bed to follow her.

The world outside is still misty as Nym clambers nimbly through the vegetation and lithely over the rocks. She was born to this world, she knows every type of rock and plant that reside here, every animals call, and every star’s name. She knows it’s turbulent and violent history, it’s peace and prosperity – and she is thoroughly bored with almost everything about it. She yearns desperately for something more, her heart longs for adventure and she craves anything new ad unknown to her.

Sighing, she stops, having finally reached her destination, and looks at the entrance to Aughra’s conservatory, painstakingly rebuilt after the last Great Conjunction.

“C’mon Roowee, it’s time for my lessons.”

Rowee nods, and trudges along, unhappy that he was dragged out of his warm nest into the damp mist but hoping secretly that there is a quiet spot to curl up and snooze while Nym, more than likely impatiently, endures her lessons, merely counting down the minutes until they can break free and go adventuring together.

The morning mist has given way to a bright and cloudless sky by the time that Nym has completed her lessons with Aughra and she explodes into the sunlight with the eagerness of youth and the boundless energy of the knowledge that the rest of the day belongs solely to her and Roowee.

She can hear Aughra grumbling good-naturedly about her impetuous student and Nym smiles as she races towards the forbidden lands – she adores her astronomy mentor, just not the static nature of being cooped up in the Observatory while the world outside beckons her to come and go relic hunting.

“Where shall we go today Roowee?”, she asks, racing further and further into the outer reaches of her explored territory.

Roowee bounds beside her, fast, quick, clever and fiercely loyal to Nym. They have been together for as long as he can remember and they have an unspoken level of communication, friendship and trust that has only deepened the bond between them over the years.

Feeling particularly reckless this morning Nym, without breaking stride says, “How about the desert beyond the Mystic’s village?”

Roowee stops short; that is farther than they have ever travelled and it was expressly forbidden by her Grandfather Jen to ever venture past his childhood home. Seeing her race farther ahead, he scampers back and in no time is matching stride again with her. She looks over and winks at her beloved companion with a smile.

“New adventure, here we come!”

Crawling over the rocks, deep into the desert and far, far away from the Mystic’s abandoned village, Nym is scouring the ground in search of any sign or hint, that there may be relics in the vicinity so she failed to notice the slight change in the atmosphere around her…

But Roowee didn’t, he stood up, ears perked, a slight growl escaping from deep in his belly.

Nym snapped out of her focus as a sudden ear-splitting boom shook the earth and the entire sky changed into a brilliant purpley-blue colour briefly as some type of vessel came crash landing onto Thra. Frightened, but intensely curious as smoke plumes and spirals up from the wreckage Nym moves closer, and sees through the clear hatch window, a most mysterious and intriguing creature. He is dark and muscular and doesn’t seem to be moving, with tribal markings on his body and spiral horns with long ears that seem to rest flat against his head. He is covered in a strange metal and leather harness that crosses over his mostly bare upper body and wears long thick cuffs on both his wrists. The window opens with a whoosh and she moves closer to see him. Brushing his hair out of his face she sees more strange markings on his right cheek. He has a large wound on his head and is covered in dirt and sweat. Her movement stirs him and his eyes flutter and struggle to focus as he rouses himself enough to look up and see her staring down at him. He startles her as he grabs her wrist in a fierce, firm hold. He utters one quick and desperate statement before finally passing out completely and releasing his hold on her.

“Run!” he says, “they’re coming!”

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