Earlier this week we concluded the Path of Exile Talent Competition. This competition was open to all media of work and can easily be called our most successful competition to date. The quality of the work our community is capable of producing is outstanding.

Because of the immense number of excellent submissions we've increased the prize pool to include more people. In fact, due to the sheer number of quality entrants we'll be doing a second post next week to award further runner-up prizes.

Top Three Winners

Prizes
  • A piece of original art from the Path of Exile comic. This is an actual raw page from the artist (in black and white) prior to it being coloured. There's only one copy of each page in existence! The example page linked isn't necessarily the one that you receive. The pages are 29.7cm x 42cm in size.
  • Atlas of Worlds T-shirt
  • Signed Path of Exile Comic
  • Your choice of Armour Set
  • Signed Brutus Concept Art Print
  • Chaos Orb Key Chain

Hand-made Mjölner by Businessizgood



Izaro's Melancholy by Vulician



Tears of the Maji: Discerning the Virtue Gems by cipher_nemo



Winners

Prizes
  • Atlas of Worlds T-shirt
  • Your choice of Armour Set

The Path by thaigolehmann



Atlas of Worlds Theme by eko1991



Lifesprig by diesy



The White Abyss by sim295



Wandering Eye by LadyPitch



Into the Void by ArturVilela



Two Exiles Encounter Each Other in the Forest by h3rring

You've been tracking him for the better part of an hour. He's huge. Massive. He trundles through the forest's undergrowth, a dangerous mountain of a man, offending the very ground he walks upon. You can feel Wraeclast calling for his death like a knife twisting in your gut. He is here to ruin everything, the tall grass whispers to you. He is here to destroy what is left of us. The wind agrees, rustling the leaves overhead, and you smile with esoteric understanding
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The other exiles--they're not saviors, or liberators. They're not even victims. They're tyrants in the making. They're here to conquer Wraeclast. That's what the dreams have shown you. As soon as you stopped being afraid to fall asleep, everything about this dark continent started to make sense. Your quarry slows to a stop some thirty paces ahead. He unloads his knapsack and then sits down and begins sorting through it. From the look of things, he's going to take a midday break, maybe wipe the blood from that spike-lined mace he has slung over his back. You tell yourself to be patient. The worst plan of action would be to confront a towering Karui marauder head-on. Slaying this abomination will require craftiness and ingenuity. That means clearing the perimeter of distractions, setting up traps, and... What? He's gone. In the time it took you to check your trapping supplies, he's moved out of view. Breath held, you carefully creep forward, wondering if he found a different tree to sit under. Then: the snapping of a twig, to your immediate left. The smell of sweat and bestial musk. The bastard circled around while you weren't paying attention. It's only by the grace of the gods that you dodge the first swing of his mace. The marauder swings again, nearly catching you in the shoulder--shit, oh shit, and you're reaching for your bow out of instinct. Just one look at his swarthy face tells you all you need to know: he's determined to kill you. No time for traps now. You sprint away from him, fumbling with your quiver, his footsteps a thunderous cadence that tells you exactly where he is. The first arrow nocked, you draw it back and then point up and into the sky to release a spectral volley of arrows. They're bright green and gleaming, imbued with powerful magic, raining down on him in a spectacular fashion. Even from a distance, you can see how the arrows pierce his skin; you can see the blood on his brow and in streaks down his too-muscular arms. You silently cheer at your expert aim. This is the thrill of the hunt. But he doesn't stop moving. He barely flinches in the face of that onslaught, and that's when you know you're in real trouble. No matter how many arrows you fire at him, he doesn't stop moving. It quickly becomes apparent that you're the prey, that he's the one hunting you. And it's even more apparent that he has more strength and stamina than you do. He doesn't grunt or moan or stumble when you land hits on his legs, his chest, even his neck. He doesn't make any utterances whatsoever. He stalks you from one end of the forest to the other, mute and monolithic all the while, slaughtering anything and everything that steps in his path. You realize too late that you don't have any teleport scrolls. And then there's a line of cliffs and the infamous basalt gorge in front of you. It's more like an abyss: a deep wound in the earth that leads down to fog, to shadows, to nothing at all. No going forward, unless you're planning to plummet to your death. No going backward, either. Nowhere to run. You're exhausted. You don't know how long you've been running; you just know the marauder has kept pace with you the entire time. "Please," you say, and your voice breaks. The marauder stops at the edge of the forest, glaring at you, his eyes darker than the abyss itself. "I'll give you whatever it is you want from me, if only you'll spare my life. I have whetstones, and prisms. I have..." He isn't interested in bargaining with you. That much is certain. The first strike of the mace lands across your face. Your teeth scatter away and roll over the ground like inert gemstones, and then he hits you again, forcing you to your knees. There's blood. So much blood that you can't hope to catch it in your hands. He hits you again. He hits you again. He hits you again, and now you're only hoping the pain will end. Wraeclast is disappointed. You can feel that much under your palms, against your torn-open cheek. This land put its trust in you, rogue exile, choosing you to be its champion, and you've done nothing to honor that trust. Your blood is spreading across the thirsty, greedy soil, which drinks it in. You couldn't be more of a failure. The marauder drops down to one knee beside you. Even now, he's saying nothing at all, seemingly incapable of civilized speech. Your one good eye allows you to watch as he silently rifles through your belongings, stealing the rings from your fingers, even taking the hunting bow your mother gave to you when you left home. "My precious Orra," she said that day, drawing you into a fond embrace. "You're from a long, storied line of hunters. The Greengates have been great hunters for many generations. And you too will become one of the greats, as long as you're willing to give sweat and blood for your craft." You bleed to death instead.

360° Path of Exile Fanart by ruri444



Piety Doll by N1ght20



Forsaken Masters by lowgrasswhite



Devourer and Inua Totem by Gilbertamy




The Gemling Queen by Chrisces



Call her Hiaula by Lorg2

The name she had been born with was forgotten: call her Hiaula. How long had she spent on this hell, this Wraeclast? More moons than most who washed ashore managed, that much was for certain. She prided herself on her ability to survive in the wildernesses, the dream-dark wastes, the monster-infested plains. There was nothing left for her to discover on this island. She knew her corner of it intimately, and it was this intimacy that kept her alive, day by day, as she scavenged and foraged, fought and bled.
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The shore was a thin wash of grey sand, colour drained from it by a constant infusion of muddy rain and dark blood. Her territory began at one end of the beach, the other survivors' huddled together at the other side. Every now and again she would come close enough to see the outline of their ramparts, barely more than planks of wood, stolen from the wrecks that lined the coast, bound together with rotting ropes or mouldy vines. They scurried together like dogs in a pen, jumping and barking at anything that came near to their precious gateways, pelting the shambling deadmen with stones and flint-tipped arrows. Hiaula laughed at them. Their way was to die, that much was obvious. When the deadmen rose the only thing to do was to run. Resisting the simple truth of things was what got exiles killed. She would occasionally see them running along the shore towards the Watch, screaming and shouting, begging for help. The loud ones never survived. They would scratch and scrape at the wooden gates under their hands bled for splinters, whilst a hundred deadmen pulled them down to the sand. The quiet ones would watch and wait, and make their way to safety under cover of night or rain. For these exiles, Hiaula felt a pang of kinship. Survival was an instinct, this much was true, but only animals act on instinct alone. To survive was to be smarter than the animals that surrounded you. The waxing of the moon had led her close to the Watch, and she regarded the weak spitting torchlight that marked their camp with a cool disdain. Wet sand curled between her toes. High in its heavenly abode, the moon looked down on the scavenger and shone a light towards the prizes brought in by the tide. Ten deadmen could be worth as much as one, depending on where they were from. Exiles were stripped of most belongings, but their clothes were usually left with them. Some came in burlap scraps, useful in their own right, but Hiaula took special care to search out the corpses wrapped in silk or cotton, the rich men and women. They more often than not washed ashore with a bevy of other goods, metal buttons and cured leather belts, that she could use for any number of purposes. The shiv she carried at her side was forged from the steel boot cap of a man who had washed ashore without half of his body. The sirens always seemed to chew up the rich men first. Picking her way between the battered ribs of shipwrecks led her to a painfully common find. A small wooden chest, heavy enough with loot to have sunk deep into the sand, but locked and bound with chains and metal latches. Hiaula cursed in ten languages as she grappled with the metal. She hadn't lived in Oriath long enough to learn what a keyhole was, nor how to pick it. She relented. Perhaps one of the exiles at the Watch knew the secrets of the metal clasps that held the thing shut. For all she knew what was inside the thing was worthless, and she would happily trade it to those exiles who dreamed of the comforts of home in exchange for food and water. How many times had she made such transactions? None recently. She wondered if the exiles at the Watch were even the ones she remembered there. How many had died or fled further inland? A groan. Her hand snapped to her dagger and she spent precious seconds untangling it from her belt. One of the deadmen around her was moving, slowly beginning to stand. She would have to leave her treasure for another day, she would have to run, now, and hope that the deadman wouldn't somehow signal others to follow her. The groan turned into a word. "Where?" The man was grey, his eyes sunk into his skull, but he wasn't dead. Muscles seemed to curl from every bone along him, and each swathe of dark skin was painted with symbols and icons in bright red. As he staggered to his feet, blood and water dripping from his damaged body, Hiaula balked. He was twice her size, and if he had been a dead man then there wouldn't have been a thing she could do to fight him off if he had set his mind to following her. "You're alive?" It seemed like a stupid thing to ask, but she had to be sure. The words came out of her slowly. It had been a long time since she had spoken to another living person. "Wraeclast." He said, nodding, looking around. He was injured and tired, barely standing, but he still managed to stagger towards her. "Where is it?" "Where is what?" Her hand shot to her weapon again. His tone was that of confrontation, not relief. The few living men she'd dealt with on this shoreline begged for help rather than make demands. "The totem." If she hadn't moved back a few steps he would have caught her in his mighty swinging arms. "Where is it?" "You washed up alone, giant man. There is nothing here except you, me and the sands." She pointed idly at the crate she had been wrestling with. "And a locked up box." He paused, a great sadness flowing over his chiseled features. He rubbed a hand across his face, smearing blood from his mouth down to his chin. "I will make another." At that he walked past her and out onto the strand alone. She shook her head. He was so badly injured that it was a miracle he wasn't already dead, and yet here he was shambling his way into the thick of the deadmen with loud, heavy footsteps. Despite his size he was clearly no idiot. He threaded his way between deadmen with remarkable ease, occasionally stopping to bend down and grab something out of the sand. Hiaula followed him, far too curious as to what the brute had in mind to leave him alone in the night. He stopped in front of a chunk of driftwood. "There is an exile camp down the beach." She offered as she approached him. "It should be safe there until morning." He said nothing, his attention absorbed entirely by the grey knot of oak in the sand before him. "No." He said through gritted teeth. "This is more important." With that he leaned forward and hefted the log onto his shoulder. He seemed to sniff at the air before turning back towards her and heading off along the beach. Towards her own camp. How could he have known? Hiaula thought as she followed. A glance thrown over her shoulder reminded her of the pathetic spots of light that marked the other exiles' watch fires. Perhaps he has no interest in the others either. Perhaps he will kill me in my sleep and eat me. Perhaps... "I am sorry." He said once she was close enough to hear him over the crash of the rising tide. "I never asked your name. Mine is Tukra." "Hiaula. Where are you going, Tukra?" He grinned. "Your camp, it should be quiet there. You are leading me there well enough." "And the tree?" "It is for the totem." The grin faded. "I should not have lost it." "You are not from Oriath." "No, but it is because of Oriath that I find myself here." "You seem very calm. Most exiles I've met are manic." "The world is my home. There is no place where I could be considered an exile. The ancestors spread their hands across each land until place was known by them. I am not afraid of this Wraeclast, as you are." She decided not to respond. Hiaula was used to the doting admiration of the other exiles, the ones who knew that they could not make it on their own without help, the ones who had braved the wilds in bands of five or six and had come back as two or three, and all the more fearful for it. Their respect for her ran deep, even if she held them in contempt. The camp was not far. Tukra led her through the same rocky crevices she had clambered through just hours ago, as if he knew the land as well as she did. Before long they came to the place, a small cave whose entrance was covered over with a lattice of branches, cloth and vines. Tukra waited as she pulled the cover aside, and then stooped down to enter the cave, still carrying his log with him. He placed it near her fire pit as gently as anyone else would lay down a baby. Hiaula busied herself for a moment as he fumbled with the embers, turning away for a moment to dig through her trove of scavenged goods to find some cloth. When she turned back, she was surprised to see her dead fire crackling into life. "How did you do that?" She snapped, tearing up valuable cloth, thoroughly cleaned in a pan of boiled water that morning, in order to better bind his wounds. He grinned in response. "I will tell you if you lend me your knife." Fear washed over her in a crashing wave. She had no reason to trust this man, this stranger, and she had no reason to believe that he wouldn't take the knife from her hands only to turn it on her the instant she had disarmed herself. At the same time, a long dulled aspect of Hiaula whispered to her, there was no reason why he couldn't have killed her already. He turned the mast of deadwood over in his hands as if it weighed nothing. She drew her knife with a quick motion and turned the handle towards him, already hating herself for her decision. If she lived, she decided, she would invest in another knife, for moments like this. Maybe a third knife, a dud or fake made of painted wood, in case she needed a distraction or a chance to escape any time in the future she found herself cornered by a giant. Tukra held the knife over the fire and watched it until it glowed gently, heat weaving through the metal and turning it a bright sunset orange. Then he turned the knife in his hand to hold it backwards, steadying the blade by placing his other palm against the makeshift weapons wooden pommel, and began to chip away at the wood he had carried from the beach. "My people believe that stories hold power." He began to say. "That there is strength to be gained from the past, from the collected wisdom of our forebears, from-" He turned suddenly, back towards the entrance of the cave, the knife paused against his carving. "What?" "Nothing. I thought I heard something, but it is night." He hesitated for a moment but quickly returned to his work. "The most dangerous predators wait for day, for the only food to be had at night is mice and grain." "This is your first night on Wraeclast, Tukra, you have much to learn." "As do you. I would like you to consider this some meagre payment for your kindness. Come closer, you look as if you are ready to use those bandages of yours." Hiaula obliged, and as he worked she began to wrap coarse linen over the worst of his cuts, sprinkling weak moonshine onto the cloth, hoping that his wounds would not become infected. She was beginning to like the strange, huge man. He spoke to her with the respect devoted to equals. "This," He murmured as he tapped with her knife, chiseling away at a section of wood that he had already scraped clean of dead bark. "This is the story of Palgruiz the Reckless, who was so small he rode a mainland Rhoa into battle." He pointed at the symbols he was writing. "His many victories against fellow tribes made him so bold that he led the charge against a group of Oriath horse-riders, who trampled him without a second thought." There was a sort of sense to what he was carving, and as he spoke the symbols began to coalesce into detailed murals of battles long lost to any other historian. "See here, once I am done you will be able to see Drenluz the Dragon, whose words were fire in the hearts of his men and a terrible inferno to his enemies." Time passed. Each time the fire burned low Tukra would reinvigorate the embers with a passing shove that caused them to crackle to life once again. "Look, the story of my great-great-grandfather, Toruvara the Wise, who was the first of the storytellers of my family. He believed that honoring our ancestors was the path to greater power over the other tribes." "Did you believe that?" "There is power in truths as much as there is power in lies. Wraeclast is a land of shadows and myths. I will purge it with my truth that no darkness remains." Before long Hiaula fell asleep. As her eyelids drooped she could see the huge man with her tiny knife cutting a symbol of a winged monster that spat poison at a noble warrior, who faced the demon with a roar as the venom seared his skin. She dreamt of dragons. "Up!" She stirred slowly, her hand reaching for her belt, for her knife. "Here. I'm out of time." "Tukra?" Behind him she could see the grey whispers of dawn filtering through her messy barrier of twigs and leaves. The fire, she realised, was gone. The warm light that illuminated her small hovel was not coming from the firepit. Tukra opened his mouth to speak as the makeshift barricade at the front of the cave began to shake. The noise of rustling leaves was a cacophony in the morning quiet. He turned slowly, padding quietly towards the centre of the cave, where the totem was waiting. Hiaula gripped her knife tightly, and dimly wondered what was happening. In her dreams she had fought beasts she had never once seen, in her dreams she was a hero to the other exiles. Reality seemed grey and grim in comparison. Suddenly the barrier was torn aside. In the darkness that lay beyond Hiaula could see the morning half-light gleaming off a dozen beady eyes. "Stay behind the totem, it will protect you." "What?" Tukra took no time in sprinting forward. In a heartbeat he was amongst the goatmen, grappling one by its shaggy beard and hurling it back towards its compatriots. The silence broke, and the noise of battle echoed through the narrow gulley. Goatmen bleated and whistled, charging forward with crude clubs and staves. The giant man batted them aside, barely slowing as some broke over his body, showering the ground with splinters. His tattoos swirled across his skin, dimly illuminating the fetid mass of savage creatures that clogged the ravine like lumps of mud in an artery. Hiaula shivered, gripped her knife to her chest, and watched. The tattoos flared. Suddenly the giant man was a walking star, the light that burned from him bright enough to hurt the eyes. With a startling yell to match the savagery of the bleating creatures around him he held his hands up high and brought them crashing down. Fire rolled along the ground around him, the goats closest to him incinerated in a mess of charred fur and terrified animalistic screeches. The battle began in earnest then, with the goatmen satisfied that they understood their foe. They pelted him with their crude weapons, hurling stones and sharpened sticks at him as he fought his way through the horde. Blood saturated the sand that was left. Most of the ground had been scorched into glass. Hiaula watched, entranced by the fury that Tukra was conjuring. She kept her slim arms wrapped tightly around her chest and pressed herself against the totem, cowering behind it, too scared to move. She had seen goatmen before, but never in such numbers, never when she was trapped in a cave. A grey maned head crept into view at the entrance to the cave. It's black lips pulled back, revealing yellow stumps of tooth as it bleated at her, growling and gnashing as it made it's way towards her, it's arms raised, grapsing and clawing the air. Hiaula waited for it to get closer, gripping her knife. Each step it took brought it closer to its own death, she thought grimly, gritting her teeth and thinking about where best to stab the hideous creature. As if the monster had crossed some invisible threshold, it suddenly burst into flame. It's screeches overpowered the battle and it ran, dying as the inferno embraced it, slamming through its compatriots, who in turn began to flee. Tukra hurled a final blast of flame towards the stragglers, and then watched as they disappeared from sight, scrabbling through the dark and vanishing between the rocks. Hiaula looked to the totem, where an ethereal figure stood, watching her with a disapproving scowl, it's hands made of dark embers. "Ancestors guide me." Tukra murmured as he collapsed into the cave. "The day is won, at least." "I've never seen anything like that. What are you?" "I am Karui." He spat, as blood began to dribble from his nostrils. "I am a warrior and I protect my people. And now, I am dying." "Let me help you, I have more bandages, I have more-" He laughed at her, and shook his head. "Your words and your actions were kind, but I did not expect to survive the night. My wounds were too great, no matter what medicine you offered me. I prepare for the next journey, although I fear my failures in this life will haunt me there." "You have failed no-one, Tukra of the Karui." His eyes were dimming now, the bright glow of his tattoos fading. "The totem is not finished." They looked at it for a moment, together. The spirit was gone, receded back into the stories that summoned it. "There may be other Karui on Wraeclast, Tukra. I will make sure it is returned to its rightful people." His grin was gone, but his grim smile grew. "Take your knife, and show the wood what this battle was. The last stand of Tukra the Storyteller, and the rebirth of his companion Hiaula." "Rebirth?" "The totem is yours now." His words were barely audible now, bubbles popping in the blood that sealed his lips. "Wraeclast is yours now. For now, and perhaps forever, you will be-" The world grew still, until Hiaula stood up and went out into the gulley. Once she was satisfied that the enemy was gone, she dragged the giant man down to the beach on a rickety stretcher made from the tools their foes had dropped, and used the contraption to start a pyre. By the time the sun was well and truly risen, his flesh had been taken by the flame. She was not surprised to find that the totem was light to carry. She cradled it under one arm, her other hand clasped around the hilt of her dagger. The Watch was far away, but she could see the dim outline of the wooden barricades that the other exiles hid behind. Entirely by accident, she came to the place where she had found the giant man. Shipwrecks curled over and around her, and she found the crate she had been wrestling with when the corpse had started talking. It had sunk lower into the wet sand overnight, but with a shove it popped free from the mud, revealing its bright coat of locks and chains. Fury grew in Hiaula. If it hadn't been for this box she would never have found the giant man, and would never have had to watch him die. She raised the totem with a mighty shout and brought it crashing down against the box, once, twice, until her arms shook with the effort and her chest hurt from her cries. On the last strike, the box clattered open, the chains that bound it broken. Hiaula fell to her knees, the exertion of the day and the night finally shuddering through her. She was dimly aware of the fact that her shouts had woken some of the deadmen nearby, but her attention was drawn to the box. Inside was a set of swords, gleaming and mirror bright. She could see a face in one of them as she angled it towards herself, a mess of lank hair and wide, bloodshot eyes. Beneath them was a set of armour made of boiled leather, and beneath that still, a set of matching glass flasks that bubbled with strange liquids. Hiaula looked up at the deadmen stirring across the beach, and gripped the totem so hard that her fingernails bled. Today, she was reborn. Today, the deadmen didn't scare her.

Runner Ups

Prize
  • 250 points

Atlas of Worlds Community Highlights by mireklefou



The Belly of the Beast by SkintickeT5

Starforge Infernal Sword by Myra9



Nightmare's End by Eyks272

Deep, deep within the Belly of the Beast, furled within the bowels of a living, bleeding, eternal Nightmare, I made my peace with Piety as she made her peace with God. And now I struggle against the Beast, the Nightmare himself. Malachai flays my skin, stripping me of muscle and sinew, down to my very bones. I struggle against the pain, the fear, the torment.
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Then, without pause in the heat of battle, Malachai asks me, “Why are you so in love with death?” I do not answer with words, but flash an arrow of brilliant light into his torso, leaving in its wake a Reflection that looks nothing like me. No, Malachai. I am not in love with death. Death is in love with me. Death has gripped me in its smothering embrace since my inception. I have never wanted anything more than to die. When I was a youngling in Oriath, my elders praised me for my visions of corruption. They thought I would be a thaumaturgic prodigy. I rejected their praise. My nightmares were nothing to cheer for. Voices of the damned, screaming, reaching through the void to tear my soul from my body. This was no gift from God. It was a curse. Nonetheless, I was forced into an apprenticeship as an acolyte of the “faith”. Virtue gems and experimental theology captured none of my interest, nor drew forth any of my talents. As it turned out, I was no seer. The damnations and machinations of the voices in my mind were merely ceaseless noise, no more tangible than echoes in the fetid halls of my academy. I was sick, they told me eventually. Affected by a sickness of the mind. There was no magic in me; just hellscapes and hatred. It became clear to me over time what it was they meant. The visions grew darker, the voices louder. Death wished so much of me, and I could no longer ignore its pleas. I slaughtered my master and my peers. Turns out I was much handier with a dagger than a wand. From then on I led the life of a killer, doing as the voices demanded in the hopeless hope that they would one day have had enough with me. Each time I felt blood run down my hands, a piece of my soul bled too. Cowardice was the only thing keeping me alive by this point. It was easy enough to kill others; killing myself was another matter entirely. In time, I had made perhaps too much of a name for myself. The Shadow, they called me. A simple job, I was told. Silence a big mouth; get a big payout. And no one was going to be the wiser. Tidy. Except for one loose end—me. The next thing I knew, I was on some stinking crate bound for Exile. For most, this would be a fate worse than death. But secretly I had hoped there would be horrors real enough to put to bed the nightmares in my addled mind. “Not another word from you,” my Reflection speaks. She knocks an arrow and looses it into Malachai’s throat faster than he can react. “I will not let you harm him.” Malachai chokes and sputters as blood spurts from his fresh wound. He tears the arrow from his neck and unleashes the pits of hell unto my Reflection, but she disappears safely in a swirl of mist. I was sick, they told me back then. Affected by a sickness of the mind. There was no magic in me; just hellscapes and hatred. Oh, but how wrong they were. It wasn’t until I washed ashore the twilight strand that my most incredible self was revealed to me. A survivor on the shoreline turned to me once I had regained my wits, but he was torn apart by a risen corpse before he could even finish his greeting. I scanned my surroundings and darted for the nearest weapon, a trusty little dagger. Its weight and sharpness were not much to my liking, but it was sufficient in removing the fell creature’s head from its shoulders. I had survived my first encounter, much to my disappointment. With a surge of pragmatism I checked the bodies around me for any usable equipment. Amidst the wreckage and the rotting heaps, a certain familiar gleam caught my eye. A bow, a quiver of arrows, and… a virtue gem. I took it into my hands and in an instant I knew a piece of myself that had long been dormant. A bow, eh? Perhaps I felt like taking a fresh start. Perhaps I had wanted a disadvantage, hastening my death in a way I could never bring about myself. But when I faced down the mammoth miscreation that was Hillock and loosed my first arrow, I knew it was neither of these things. My arrow pierced Hillock’s flesh and from his oozing wound burst a figure of light, manifesting for the first time in my horrid life the beauty and grace that was my Reflection. She turned her head to look at me, and in that moment I knew her thoughts. “Fight. Live. You are loved.” My battle with Malachai rages on. As I take more and more of his precious lifeblood he attempts to replenish himself by summoning his many hearts of the Beast. My Reflection and I destroy two of them when he speaks again. “You are being selfish.” Selfish, Malachai? Me? All I have ever wanted was peace of mind. I did not ask to be born into this wretched world. I did not ask for Exile. I did not ask for the Nightmares; not mine, nor yours. Yet here I am. It was through the Mirror Shot that I was able to tap into that wellspring of goodness that had for so long eluded me. All the love I did not have for myself, I held for her. My Reflection was as much a part of me as the chilling voices that drove me to my sordid career. But she would teach me, after years of torment and strife, to tune them out. My Reflection was naturally gifted as a marksman, and in our travels through Wraeclast together she taught me everything she knew. She taught me to breathe, to still my mind and bring to razor focus the singular thought of piercing my target with each arrow. Soon, slaying the monstrosities of Wraeclast became a meditative act. I killed not to appease the voices, but to silence them. Is that selfishness, Malachai? To steal the lives of others to bring myself peace? Perhaps. It was no cure for my ails, but it was sufficient balm. Three hearts, ruptured and spewing ichors. Malachai heaves in his fatigue, as do I. With tenderness in my heart and the desire to see my Reflection one last time before the world around me ends, I breathe through tattered lungs and knock one final arrow. In that moment, Malachai opens a portal to hell and unleashes a swarm of writhing tentacles. “Surrender to Nightmare!” he screams. A flash of light, and my arrow strikes true. Malachai’s screams tear at my ears even as his final blow tears at what remains of my flesh. There is an eruption of gore, of melting flesh and bone falling from the sky. I can no longer distinguish between my own blood and that of my fallen foe’s. Painfully, I roll onto my back. My reflection comes into view from behind me, kneels down and rests her forehead against mine. “It is over, love. Rest now. At last, we may be at peace.” Slowly, my vision turns to black. At long, long last, endless silence seeks to claim me. Within my mind I hear one last voice. Hers. Lilting, lyrical, she sings to me a lullaby. “A Shadow, once, cast out the light. A Nightmare lived, an unending blight. A life of pain, a heedless name. Then, in Exile, more the same “Until he met a stone of light; His own Reflection, shining bright. Newfound love, please do not die. Let us build a castle high “Above the shroud of death, Into the clouds we may draw breath For one last time, before we part; A gentle love, a gentle heart.

Breach Lightbox by agrizok



Path of Exile Card Game by 23HoRuS23



Witch in the Belly of the Beast by Head_Less



Cast While Channelling Lightning Warp + Discharge Build by xfrzz



Fan Art by FkoFF



Guardian (Reshaped) by davoooooo



What's your Build? By Vetteri



Raising Kids by ovogancho



Fan Art by Degelman



Lioneye's Watch by ohwky



Kaom's Dream by Niacha



Act 3 Lightbox by fjtheknight

Randomly Drawn Submission

Prize
  • A piece of original art from the Path of Exile comic. This is an actual raw page from the artist (in black and white) prior to it being coloured. There's only one copy of each page in existence! The example page linked isn't necessarily the one that you receive. The pages are 29.7cm x 42cm in size.

Ice Crown Witch by Kilak



As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, we'll be handing out more prizes next week for other entries. If you're a prize winner from this week, we'll be contacting you soon to arrange your prize. Thank you so much to everyone who has participated! Congratulations to all the winners!
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Grinding Gear Games
nice work
AwesoME!

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gz!
MMMMarvelous!
Congrats everyone! And thank you Bex, it was a lot of fun! :-)
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▒▒▒▒░░░░░ cipher_nemo ░░░░░▒▒▒▒ │ Waggro Level: ♠○○○○ │ 1244
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nice
Damn was really wanting to at least place. Grats to all the winners!
Congrats to the winners :) Sad that I yet again didn't even get a mention. I'm starting to think my style is too cartoony. :(
Wow, there are so many amazing creations featured here! I am honored to have been able to participate in this competition with everyone.

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