Enchanted Paintings | E. Christopher Clark

Enchanted Painting

Enchanted Paintings are the ghastly result of bargains struck with a nameless eldritch fiend. Mortal beings, seeking to maintain their youth and beauty, sell the rights to their spiritual self. In return, the fiend delivers the mortal a portrait that will age and fade in their stead.



Once the deal is sealed, the fiend plumbs the depths of the Undercurrent until they find a version of the mortal from a previous iteration of reality. The fiend offers that forgotten soul another chance at life, if only they will bind themselves to a painting for a short while. If the lost soul refuses, the fiend casts them back into the Undercurrent and goes searching for another candidate. And there is always at least one version who will say yes.


The painting, with the forgotten soul bound to it, is then delivered to the mortal who made the bargain.



The mortal owner of the painting is rendered immune to aging and disease. The soul bound to the painting ages in the mortal’s place, is afflicted with any diseases the mortal should have contracted, and suffers in every way the mortal was meant to but didn’t.



The mortal must forfeit their soul upon their death. And yes, they can die—just not of old age or disease. But beyond that, the hidden costs of living a life without consequence eventually include boredom, depression, and/or increased risk-taking and boundary-pushing.


As for the soul bound to the painting, the cost for them is a lifetime—or, potentially, several lifetimes—of torment. But then, when the mortal is inevitably killed or commits suicide, the soul bound to the painting is given their reward. See below, under “Rewards,” for more on that.



The painting will not in any way protect the mortal from violence or a violent death. And if the painting is destroyed, the mortal dies.



Upon the death of the mortal, the fiend feasts upon their soul—a soul made all the more delicious by years and years of debauchery. But the fiend is not the only one who is rewarded. The soul which was bound to the painting is freed and given a pristine physical form with which to live out their second life as they so choose.

A Nameless Eldritch Fiend
Item type
Base Price
One Soul


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Feb 7, 2024 00:58 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Well, you know... at least the poor soul trapped in the painting actually gets some good out of it in the end.   Lovely tribute.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Feb 7, 2024 01:45 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks for reading! Yes, at least there's that one little silver lining in the end.

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Feb 13, 2024 17:44 by Chris L

Another very cool take! You're killing it on these. Loving the soul exchange that happens, the price paid, and the "rewards" received at the end.

For your consideration, my submissions for the WorldAnvil Worldbuilding Awards 2024. (I've also included some of my favorites other worldbuilders.)

Feb 13, 2024 22:37 by E. Christopher Clark

Thanks! Yes, the combination of my initial brainstorming plus applying Janet's triangle has made most of these really fun to write. I have stumbled on a couple of them, but I'll come back to those later.

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