Shitload of Concept Art

Creation of a new story means fresh concept art, something that I truly enjoy almost more than anything else involved within this process. I am working on a new story, just like I said, and it involves a new character, Modus (I posted about him earlier) and also a new villan, Ranin. He’s a vile, greedy, sadistic merchant who uses unholy magic and brute force to get whatever his heart desires. Miserly as well, Ranin keeps a close eye on his massive fortune and make sure he gets the most bang for his buck. Ranin is the one that murdered Modus and imprisoned his wife’s soul.

At present, he’s a spellcaster, mostly because he is too out of shape to do anything else. During the exaggerated gesticulations sometimes utilized for spellcasting, he will break a sweat, and often soak the front of his robes. He is impatient, and learned magic through dealing with the Infernals.

He is a cruel child with a machine gun. Wanna see?

Ranin

 

Sick little fucker, ain’t he? Modus also fights an Infernal in the beginning of this novella that calls itself “Eye.” A dangerous beast, it seeks to spread carnage and chaos by conjuring intense hurricanes and tornadoes wherever it may tread. It never fights fair- often attacking by stealth or ambush all while exacerbating the storm it conjured as it fights. Eye has a gullet filled with thin, razor sharp teeth, all crooked and twisted. Its breath is highly corrosive, and capable of breaking down almost any substance. Here’s a picture of Modus staring eye to eye with Eye:

Modus&EyeI also created a creature that I want to use in war scenes. It’s called a Salk:

AdultSalk

Salks are strange creatures, able to think and feel along the same mental level as a horse. They are hearty, covered in dense muscle, thick hide, and coarse hair. It’s front legs are quadruple jointed in every joint, allowing a salk to articulate itself into almost any position to navigate any terrain. It uses its powerful hind legs and to leap from place to place on terrain that might not accommodate hooves, but have plenty of hand holds for their front legs. They are omnivores, eating just about anything that they can swallow whole. Its teeth are actually a defense mechanism- when it needs to clear the way, it lowers its teeth and uses them in a similar manner as the front end of a locomotive. They can be taught to attack enemies with gusto, using any and all parts of its body as a weapon.

Alright, that about does it. I’m currently busy and motivated, which is a pleasant change of pace to say the least.

 

 

New Character Born from Self-Hatred

Modus is his name, the latest addition to the heroes of Melias in 99 Cent Novellas.

He is a Death Knight, a being of his own strange creation, a good being twisted and tortured for what he believes in. When alive, Modus belong to the order of Hallan; a sacred collection of Priestesses with Knights as their guardians. To ensure a bond of the highest order, men and women who wish to enter the order are encouraged to form relationships and eventually get married. Those who do not find a mate, cannot continue their training, and must try again when the order is accepting new disciples.

They are an organization dedicated to bringing peace and light into the world, seeking pain, misery, and illness and cleansing the planet of such mortal agony. You see, the a Hallan Priestess is the wife of her guardian, a member of the Knights of Hallan. Hallan disciples view marriage as the top tier of human relationships- a bond where two beings are linked completely as one, one the protector, one the healer, both sides coming together for a greater purpose, the purpose of healing pain wherever they may tread, and repelling any threats with extreme and violent prejudice.

Hallan Knights are men of exceptional combat ability and willpower. They push themselves far beyond the limits of any normal human being, always having their Priestess at their sides, healing them as they become wounded or maimed during the intensive and cruel training process. Hallan Knights are taught to harness the pain that automatically accompanies such a lifestyle and use it as fuel to drive them forward, relying on sheer willpower alone when the body is almost completely shattered. They are ferocious in battle, but are even-tempered, calm, and sympathetic to those who are innocent, or in need of help. They aid the weak, the poor, the sickly, the elderly, they are champions of the underdog.

Hallan Priestesses are women of extraordinary healing talents, grasping and mastering an entire branch of magic in mere months. They are prodigal- almost able to erectness the very dead with their incredible knowledge of healing and restorative spells. They can reattach severed limbs.  Heal severe wounds, heal disfigurements, disabilities, diseases, you name it. They train alongside the Knights, watching their loved ones get hurt. And sometimes, they must save their husbands’ lives if a training exercise goes wrong. Hallan Priestesses play mother to all the people of Melias. When they are seen in their flowing white gowns and light, elegant armor, they are flocked to, and in some circles, worshiped. But none get too close- her Knight is not far behind.

They take love and transform it into something much greater than just a union between two people, strengthening it as they see the good that they can do in each other’s company. They turn love into armor. Determination. And they are devout in their goals to the death. Modus used to be such a Knight, until he and his wife were captured by a vile and twisted merchant that uses dark and terrible power to assert dominance in any field of his choosing. Modus was cursed with Undeath, his soul sent into the Infernal Realm where it remains imprisoned, constantly tortured by the evil that dwells there. His wife was murdered in front of his eyes, the blood from her neck splashing his own face and armor, her soul banished into the locket that she herself gave him on their wedding day. But enough back story. Here’s what he looks like after decades of being warped by the dark magics that made him:

 

Modus

 

Once a slave to he and his wife’s murderer, he is now free, still carrying out his duties. Only now, he has a connection to the very darkness he seeks to destroy, and he exploits his condition whenever he can. I created Modus out of a time when I was mired in self hatred and dread. Anxiety. Basically, he is a supernova contained within an evil shell, a good, holy being wielding the dark and hideous power that was forced upon him. When I drew Modus for the first time, a felt free from a terrible gravity that I had yet to realize I had been carrying.

I have more concept art coming.

Concept Art and MORE

Explaining why I’ve been lax in my activity would be boring and egotistical, so I’m going to jump right in and get to stuff people might actually wanna hear.

I’ve been working a lot of the 99 Cent Novella project, in particular focusing on two characters. One, a barbarian half-orc, and the other, a human Warrior Shaman. Anyway, I’ve been writing a novella where these two team up to smack the shit out of a powerful Infernal (picture evil, demon-like creature). Then, on a whim, I decided to get a little artsy fartsy and sketch Gruun’s face:

Gruun.ConceptArt_99CN

No nonsense motherfucker, right? Anyway, he and Thas (the Warrior Shaman) are fighting a being calling itself Sycahiss: a creature that not only has an unsettling appearance, but is also a master of decay, death, and necromancy. It is an Infernal that can tear a hole into our world through the agony and pain of those sacrificed in its name. Like a moth to the flame, the beast is drawn to such profound pain and misery, and when the veil finally pops, Sycahiss takes form as. Well…take a look:

Sikahiss.ConceptArt_99CN

See that little face inside its chest? This Infernal is not as powerful as one might think. Once Sycahiss is ready to enter the material plane, he latches on to a human infant (provided by its cultists) that he keeps inside of himself. Sycahiss draws from the life energy of the child, aging the human without it ever getting any bigger. When the child is used up, Sycahiss must find another, or he will not be able to maintain his corporeal form. Also, his cloak is just a load of bullshit. Here’s a piece of concept art that details one this vile creature’s many captives:

SikahissThrall.ConceptArt_99CN

But that’s not all. Basically, Sycahiss is summoned upon a mass grave. Hundreds upon hundreds of people are tortured, killed, mutilated, and thrown into a large pit by his fanatic cultists, who will eventually add their own bodies to the pile. As Sycahiss emerges into the corporeal realm, he rises up out of the dead, and then rallies these unhallowed creatures to do his every command. Each one is different, but all are savage, mindless, and disease infested- all working as one via telepathic command from Sycahiss. Basically, this Infernal is a miserable and disgusting defiler, searching to spread misery and destroy lives, but unwilling to soil its own hands if unnecessary. Naturally, Thas and Gruun had to stand in its way.

Alright, I think that’s enough for now. I’d like to post some more about the races and creatures of Melias (the world where all my 99 Cent Novellas take place for now), describing what they are, and posting more concept art. I’ve been away from my craft for too long, and I aim to place my heart back where it belongs.

 

Obsession with a Character

Mental health has always been an area of cloudy self-misdiagnosis and a constant drain on my own personal energy and willpower for me. Depression, anxiety, blind anger. They are all my friends, and I have them with me every day. No matter what I do, no matter where I go, they are always there.

Different emotions manifest themselves in different ways for different people. My defense mechanism is immediately to go into fantasy. Push out the non-fiction, and fill the empty space with stories of my own choosing. Lately, the feeling of stagnation has permeated into my life, but it is one that is unguided and without reason. Typically, I can hone in and solve my own problems, but I am not one who will deny help.

Gruun, one of the characters from my 99 Cent Novella project, has currently been my focus of obsession. Having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder already makes me predisposed to latching on and never letting go, so. Writing and fantasy kinda just…fell into place as I battle my brain.

I focus on Gruun because he is what I want. He is what I need. A force of unstoppable nature, an immovable forward moving object. Regardless if you know what the fuck I’m talkin’ about or not, let me be plain. This character is a literal manifestation of my own rage and body insecurity.

He is massive, muscled, and brutal- kind, compassionate and patient, he is the balance of fury and civility. Acting in the real world like a normal person can be difficult (is everyone merely acting?). Can be? No. Is difficult. For me at least.

Normal. There’s a word that I despise. It’s a label that follows the same mantra as generalized testing inflicted upon children in “schools” all over the world. Who the fuck makes the rules for normal? And why do I have to follow them? Why do you?!

Because there is no real normal. It is a label.

Obsession rocks and reels with you, waning like the tide. Sometimes, you are up to your ankles, and sometimes your buried neck deep in the sand, struggling for air as the tide collides into you over. And over. And over. And over. And over. And over again.

There is a freedom in directed brutality. I’ve never been a believer in simply spitting out anger and harming anyone or anything in my way. So as this builds up, it festers. The anger builds first, and then frustration afterward at the fact that you cannot simply purge this fury from your body. As stress and these feelings build, they must be released. And anger is best released on yourself or inanimate objects.

Writing is in act of masturbatory masochism that is rewarding and soul crushing. I turn my anger inward so it can only hurt the person responsible for it. It sits in me, a little black hole. My own personal abyss, pulling me on top of myself, collapsing. Gruun is that release.

Hatred piled on top of the frustration and rage seeps downward like grease, soaking the whole godamn mess, making it worse. Depression and self loathing is the dark fog which clouds the entire scene. And guess where you are? At the bottom, clawing through, looking for the light in the fog.

Whenever I am sad, rage is the first emotion to burn through the fog. All my emotions converge into that rage and create a multi-faceted confusion prism of human emotion that is almost impossible to direct or hold on to for a long time. To awaken such rage, writing is an outlet that often drags me out of the shithole and sits me back high on my own big ol’ pile of fuckin’ bullshit.

But with that anger driving me, slurping down all the bullshit becomes palatable when you don’t care about what you swallow.

I’ve never felt numb. I can’t- and this isn’t a statement of pride but fact: I need to feel. More specifically, I need to feel rage. The process of inflammation, reduction, and retribution associated with my  twisted mental jungle gym concept of my own consciousness. As the anger surfaces, so does the writing.

Gruun, Spek, Alistar, Thas. They are all facets of my rage personified. Every character I create is a bloody chunk of my own fuckin’ meat, raw and vulnerable. It’s my job to toughen them, and to toughen myself. What’s in a character? If you have any skill or common sense, the first thing in a character should be a piece of yourself. Rage is the first emotion I turn to.

Yours?

 

Living in Constant Fantasy

From time to time, I feel as though I am just fabricating an intricate scope with which to view my world in a hue of constant fantasy.

Writing is the obvious outlet. So is art- it is all relevant. Not just to me, mind you.

Reality can be a harsh pill to take. Often, it’s taken as a suppository and forced into your life’s rectum with a cold, ungloved hand. I am well aware that reality also hurts, and can be boring at times. I think that’s why I write. Or at least that’s part of it. I write because I am bored of reality, and I want to create a new one to fuck around in. Last time I checked, I didn’t possess world-altering powers, so I guess writing and drawing will work. Perhaps there are others like me out there. I’d sure like to think so.

I finished the first novella in the Warrior Shaman series, and I’ve been anxious to continue on to the next chapter, but I find my mind disjointed and distracted. I feel like I have to scold my own brain like an unruly child. But no matter- sooner or later it all comes out. I drew a few weapon concepts for Thas, the Warrior Shaman. He utilizes a short sword and an axe, but they are no ordinary weapons. Here’s some art of his sword:

Thas_SwordConcepts

 

I wanted to create something simple, sharp, and easy to use- making it truly deadly in the hands of a master like Thas. It’s not just any sword, either. Of course it’s magic. This sword is made of singing steel; it’s a magic alloy made from iron, carbon, stone, and salt water. It’s created through gravity and intense fire magic, forged for decades in the most extreme heat and pressure, using complex alchemical powders and tars. Magic must also be used to shape the blade; mortal tools simply break, or catch fire. It is forever keen and unbreakable, and its tip is so sharp that it whistles through the air like a whip, but at a much higher pitch. Here’s a close up look of just the sword:

Thas_SwordDetail

 

He holds this weapon in his left hand. The right wields a special axe, also made from singing steel. The handle, however is made from an unbreakable portion of wood from the massive Tree of Hope- which can be seen from almost anywhere on the entire planet of Melias. Here, take a look at some concepts:

Thas_AxeConcepts

 

Sorry it’s bleary…I forgot to draw larger so I could scan it. I kinda got caught up in the moment. Anyway, you’ll see three sharp lookin’ things attached to the side of the axe head. Both sides, actually. These ridges are collectively called a bone wedge. By use of strength and the might of singing steel, this axe will cleave directly through bone, much like a wedge and a piece of fresh splitting wood. If it gets stuck going in, the design always allows for it to be pulled it out with little effort, never letting it get paralyzed in a skull or breast bone. This axe is made to fight with, period. Here’s a detail piece:

Thas_AxeOnce again, I apologize for the shitty quality, but I’m not drawin’ this fuckin’ thing over again. Anyway, I wanted to give him two different weapons because they allow for more options in combat for Thas. He can parry with the blade,  hook and manipulate limbs with the axe’s lip, hack through limbs, or run people through. Thas deals death equally for all.

I don’t know what drove me to draw these two pieces to be honest. I haven’t posted art on my blog for some time now, but something just struck me to do it. Which brings me right back to the main concept of this entry- living in fantasy.

I draw because I can’t create. I tell stories because I cannot make another world. Without the outlet of writing and art, I fear all of my ideas (good and bad and neither) would simply blend together, and I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart anymore. In fact, my grip on reality is based on how long I can steep myself in fantasy per day. But don’t get me wrong- my life isn’t so shitty that I have to spend it all in a hopeless meandering daze, constantly in fantasy. No, it’s more like…free therapy. As much as I love telling/writing/whatever stories just because I find it really fun, it’s nice to get some of these fucking things outta my head and onto paper so I don’t obsess over them in my mind.

Perhaps writing is just my way of coping with a life that can be really boring on occasion.

 

The Golemborn

Mortality is a noose that tightens a little bit every day until the trap door beneath your feet sends you to your fate. A harsh reality. Many people try to stop the flow of time’s tide through numerous methods. Plastic surgery, medicine, drugs, lotions, creams, cryogenics. Failing that, mortals will often try and make themselves remembered through deeds, bodies of work, or other types of intangible branding.

We all have plans. We all have a life that we want to do so much with, but we have an hourglass jammed into our spine that we can never forget about. What if your plans were so grand, your life purpose so monumental- you needed to be immortal? Or maybe slightly immortal? There are many different reasons for people to consider immortality. Noble or cruel, cosmetic or genuine.  It’s not always just because a person doesn’t want to die, you know. With that in mind, I introduce you to the Golemborn.

Golemborn are elemental hybrids, binding with a living organism to augment that being. Say a wizard is close to death, but his life’s work is still incomplete. He may elect to reach out to an elemental, which is a being composed of simply one…thing. It varies of course. Earth, fire, wind, water, the usual. But what about wood? Stone? Blood? Metal? Fear? Think about it. Anyway, the wizard elects a stone elemental lets say, and strikes up a deal with this being. Whatever that deal may be, once agreed upon, the elemental bestows a portion of his life force into the wizard, and effectively extends his life by several hundred decades.

However, there are side effects.

The wizard will now bear deformation. Which parts of the body depend on the type of pact and what the wizard wanted out of the deal, or the cruelty/mercy of the being they are dealing with. Sometimes the living body can become living stone, or have portions of skin convert into stone.

Internal organs may also be converted into living stone, making this human wizard a completely different organism that is unique in every way- no two Golemborn are the same because the personalities of no two elementals are the same. And depending on what the living being wishes to accomplish with this newfound immortality, different parts of the body are affected to facilitate the living being’s goals.

I’ll post some concept art in the future. In the meantime, think about what would make you want to be immortal. The answer may surprise you. The concept of this post is to highlight my works of fiction, yes. But the concept of a Golemborn is very interesting to me. What would you do with immortality? What would you dedicate your life to? Golemborn know the answers to these questions. Do you?

Warrior Shaman Flash Fiction

Thas stood in the bar indignant. He hated the stink of them. The people crowding around, hunched.

Stale beer, old wood, glaring eyes. A thug looked at him as they stood nose to nose. A snicker behind him. A drooling grin on the thug. A flash of silver in his hand. They didn’t know what he was. All they knew was that he was a Spellslinger.

That knife blade drove home into his gut, the thug grinning still, but it soon faded. Thas held on to his attacker’s wrist, holding the blade in place. He tried to withdraw, put panic made him frantic and easy to manipulate. Thas stood in the shadows of the bar, the torchlight flickered once, and the thug shrieked in terror at what he saw.

Two tiny blood orange dots of light where this monster’s eyes should be, hidden in the shifting darkness of his hood. Thas leaned in slowly, the expression of childlike terror comical on his attacker’s wizened and heavily scarred face. Finally, the coward made eye contact with Thas. The bar was silent as they waited for his words.

He released this victim, who fell to the floor, dropping his knife which slid several feet away. The thug scrambled backwards towards the exit, scooting back on his ass. Thas advanced, never speaking, blood pouring from the wound in his stomach, his eyes still glowing, trained on the thug. His wound’s blood flow has slowed to a trickle. Thas looked down at the thief, who had clearly wet himself, but not a single soul was laughing.

Thas stared down at this attacker and growled, “run.”

A brief clamor, sounds of panic and hurried feet. It wasn’t long until he found himself alone in the bar, standing in silence.

He didn’t smile.