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"The poets have written that 'Art is Truth'. If so, then I have betrayed both."
Hieronymous Deecksburg[1a]
Hieronymous Deecksburg

Hieronymous Deecksburg

In his mid-forties, Hieronymous is a once-handsome man whose face is beginning to show the ravages of drink. His blond, curly hair falls in ringlets to his collar, and his clean-shaven face sports a sad, knowing smile, but his eyes still have the piercing focus of a great artist. Nearly six feet tall and solidly built, he still cuts a quietly impressive figure when he enters a room.[1a]

Once Deecksburg loved his art and was proud of his talents. Now he still loves art, but fears his talents instead. An amazingly perceptive portraitist of the Marienburg "Realist" school, Deecksburg felt that Art was his road to truth, that he could cut through all life's veils on his canvas. So ardent was he in the pursuit of artistic truth that he joined the priesthood of Verena as an initiate relatively late in life. He seemed blessed after entering the order, for his art began to reveal the inner character of individuals, not just their surface features.[1a]

One day, painting a portrait of the High Priest of Haendryk, he slipped into a trance and painted at an amazing speed, though he later remembered nothing. When he was done, though, he was appalled and afraid, for his portrait was of a venal and greedy man without an ounce of compassion in him - and yet unmistakably it was the face of Simon Goudenkruin.[1a]

Hieronymous refused to show his work to the priest, claiming there was just a little more to be finished. Quickly, overnight, he made a new portrait that showed Goudenkruin in a much more heroic - and dishonest - light. For that betrayal of his vows, he was cursed by Verena to forever paint only the Truth; and he can't stop himself. His works show every fault and every virtue of his clients. Sadly, the wealthy who want their portraits done usually have far more of the former. Since he has no way of knowing how a portrait will turn out before he begins it, he now refuses all commissions and lives solely off teaching others.[1a]

But Verena - or perhaps Deecksburg's own love of Art - won't let him off so easily. He has a compulsion to sketch, and his sketches are starkly illuminating. He has done charcoals of many of Marienburg's powerful at their public appearances, and what he has learned of them has driven him to drink. He keeps the sketchbook under lock and key, and shows it to no one.[1b]

Hieronymous Deecksburg doesn't draw much any more — the pain of his curse and the memory of his failure before Verena weigh too heavily on him. But, one day, he was watching a ceremony at the opening of the Stadsraad when the pomp and pageantry moved him to sketch the scene. When he was done, herealised in horror that he had fallen into another of his trances and what at first seemed a harmless doodle showed instead the Cathayan diplomat, Hong Fu Chu, as a mutant monster bent on corrupting Marienburg and beyond. He has seen how Chu's reach is stretching into Marienburg, but the depression caused by his alcoholism and the fear of revealing his "talents" keep him from talking about this to those who would care.[1b]

Deecksburg knows many of the upper-crust families in Marienburg, many of whose children he tutors in art, whether they have any talent or not. As he doesn't sell his work any more, he depends on their largesse and the income from his studio for his livelihood. He consequently has a large range of contacts, but few close friends, and nobody knows his secret.[1b]

He is a close friend of Trancas Quendalmanliiye of Elftown, who regularly visits the studio. The Elf is concerned about Deecksburg's alcoholism, but doesn't yet know the reason behind it. Deecksburg also knows of the corruption and depravity of Giovanni, Ree's assistant. He knows he should speak out, but to do so would reveal his own secrets. The torment has driven deeper into the bottle, and he is often found in taverns and cheap hostelries. Recently someone has suggested that Black Lotus might ease his pain better, and although he is resisting the temptation, he may not be able to hold out much longer.[1b]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 1st ED -- Marienburg: Sold Down the River
    • 1a: pg. 106
    • 1b: pg. 107

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