Dark and Divine

Mind-blown by this beautiful piece of art, I reblogged it on Tumblr and retweeted it on Twitter and posted in on Facebook and drowned the author, Sixtus/Gladius, with repeated outpourings of praise and glee. But I still have more!

Saren, by Sixtus/Gladius

When I first saw this, I was immediately hit by a feeling of familiarity. And I don’t mean only the amusing reference to Mona Lisa. What got my attention were the decorations: the jewelry, the embroidery, the silky shine of the scarf. It took me a bit to figure out where I’ve seen that stuff before.

Spoiler: in my head.


Saren’s attire spelled it out. He was wearing one of his black and silver robes and of course Nihlus’s gaze lingered on his hands, littered with shiny jewelry.

Saren was an elegant man; well, at least his civilian persona was. He had a lot of clothes and they were all meticulously pressed and folded and hanging in a neat monochromatic gradient from identical hangers. White, light gray, dark gray, black.

…the embroidery: geometrical patterns, favorite pastime of turian artists, done in delicate cobalt thread. Definitely hand-made. Possibly even unique.

…finger-rings, wide for the lower knuckle and narrow, for the upper; crest-rings that Saren rarely wore even though they looked so sexy on him; the solid, wide bracelets he put over the gloves on special occasions.

A Hidden Place

Later, while pestering the author for more information (and hopefully, more delightful art), I learned that the painting was indeed inspired by some of my stories. It’s been forever since I had written these. I had to actually re-read Signal to Noise to find the references.


Among all the people wearing various tones of pastel whites, there was a person in monochrome black and silver and even his face was devoid of color.

Nihlus followed the hand down, hypnotized by the jewelry on Saren’s fingers. Everything on him was so perfect, the silver decorations lining the robe, the noble pallor of his crest and horns, the mirror eyes…

“Spirits, you’re beautiful,” he said at last, and smiled.

Signal to Noise

But there’s more to it than just robes and shinies. There’s that hard, cold gaze, warning the poor artist that Saren’s patience has grown thin, so it better be done soon, and it better be good. :)


He’s the beautifulest, fragilest, still strong,
Dark and divine…

Bjork – Hidden Place

Years ago, when most of my Saren/Nihlus writing was done, the fandom was young and I was a part of an incredible group of like-minded artists and writers. But my friends have moved on, and so have most of the fans, and my resurrected passion for Mass Effect fanfiction has been tinged with loneliness and regrets. As I have said elsewhere, knowing that there are still people around with an interest in these characters and the stories I write about them, is a deeply appreciated source of inspiration. And this lovely work of art has found a special place in my heart.

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