Serpent Skin Watercolor Pigments

To much of the known world on the Claw Continent, the Serpentfolk are described as myth or legend. It wasn't until Jhen Whispershadow and Bellie Spindle found their ruins that people started believing they may have existed.   The only evidence they brought back from their travels were notes. The Weaver's Guild got ahold of one of J. W.'s Travel Logs. It prominently sits on display at their Research Center in Misty Hollow.   According to her accessible notes, the shed skin of the Serpentfolk were utilized by the den in many ways. One of the mentioned uses was paint pigments.   If you were to talk to Jhen Whispershadow about it directly, she'd tell you not only about the process of making the pigments but also how to make their watercolors and a fascinating magical alteration.  

How to Make Shed Skin Pigments

When the time comes to shed their skin, the Serpentfolk of Kahlizon meditated in the waters around the Weeping Skull Fountain in the middle of town. Then, they would walk to a temple in the modern-day Webbed Forest.   Upon their return, they'd bring their shed skin to the center of town where it'd be distributed for the betterment of their community.   Leftover but magically potent sheds were brought to the watercolorist. Here, it'd hang to dry before being ground into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle. A portion of the powder is reserved for future paints.  

How to Make Watercolor Paint

The remaining portion was placed on a sheet of glass and a mixture of hot water from the fountain, tree resin powder, honey, and clove oil were put on top.   The two substances were mulled together across the glass plate until smooth. The new paint would be added to a clay skull palette for use.  

Hut of Prophecies

Once a full palette was completed, it'd be brought to the seers and records hut. They would use these pigments to bring prophecies to life.   Whether the magical energy was imbued by the fountain, the pilgrimage, or the innate power of the Serpentfolks themselves is unknown, even to Jhen Whispershadow.  

Appearance and Alterations

The shed skin paints were used lightly over a fully finished painting to add shimmer and subtle movement. Painted this way, the final pieces almost look like they shift from side to side.   It was also ground with other pigments to shift colors from the other pigment to a translucent, blue-toned white.   If you add dried and ground mushrooms that grew around the fountain, this paint could be used to heal small wounds, like leaf cuts and twig abrasions.   Unfortunately, the paint used in this way had a short shelf life of 2 weeks. After that, it could cause a rot effect on the wound. The older the pigment, the more intensive care was needed to cure it.

Cover image: Golden Clouds, speckled by Lauren Nelson


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2 Aug, 2022 08:25

I like how you added some additional utility to the pigments rather than just for painting, really enjoy the ritualistic approach to it all. Small touches as to how the pigments are made and even the fact it has a shelf life for healing wounds are nice to have and grounds it in a nice way!   I don't know if the serpentfolk are still a thing in your world or not, but have there been any attempts to replicate it through other means? I could see some artists attempt it just out of curiosity to paint with it.