Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 11 or 009/100 Themes - Drive

"Fures." - Drive. 09/100 Themes.

I still need to work a bit more on how Sorian looks and dresses, but he has light brown hair and hazel eyes.

Given that cars don't exist in this story. I took drive to mean motivation. Sorian is by far the most relentless character in the story. When there is an ends to be met, he will ignore the means. Often, his views are clouded by his emotions, which happens due to his low self-esteem. Therefore, no matter what, he desires to prove himself as more than a "second son," to make himself equal to or greater than natural magic users.

His twisted tango of a relationship with Rivek is described here.

"Sorian! If you do that, all of my men could die!"

"As a servant of this country, you will refer to me by my proper title, Ailinar."

"Of course, your highness."

"It must be done. For the sake of our countries. For the sake of progress."

"What you call progress. I call madness. I call murder."


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 10 or 008/100 Themes - Innocence

"Inosea." Innocence. 8/100 Themes

In Alisian, the word for "state" is the same as "family." There are twelve Alisian "states," each led by a family of the same name. The Alisian are known for their, often backwards and barbaric rituals. At eight, every Alisian citizen receives his or her first weapon, often a dagger. The weapon's first cut is therefore, its future bearer. Each state uses a different set of markings representative of a different state founder. Those of Ailinar are over the right eye because the founder was disfigured on that side of his face.

The story of how Rivek got his scar is something I rarely explain but holds a lot of meaning. While the cuts heal in most cases (like Mirab's), Rivek had an infection which caused his to scar. He nearly lost his eyesight, but he was saved by his magic. However, the lasting imprint on his face is a metaphor for the foreign birthright he can never escape. The dagger is one of the few things he keeps his entire life, a symbol of acceptance in some, albeit foreign, society.

I'm not very practiced at drawing children.

Rivek wrapped the grey cloak around his shoulders. The sun was just rising out at sea, and the earth hadn't warmed up yet. His father, Mitharon, took a long, cloth-wrapped package from one pocket, and a small codex from another.

Mitharon flipped the book to a middle page, marked with a red string, and began to read the same words every Alisian child longed to hear. "On the winter solstice after your eighth birthday, we have assessed your ability and welcome you as a member of our family. As a token of recognition, you will receive your first weapon."

Mitharon unwrapped the cloth package, revealing a silver stiletto dagger, its pommel engraved with a six-pointed star. Rivek knew it had been specifically crafted for him. "A blade has been chosen for you. Honor it as you would honor your father, your mother, and your country. But before you may touch it, it must leave its mark on you."

He placed his thumb over Rivek's right eye so as not to damage it, and he ran the blade down across his cheek making sure he drew blood. "Know and feel the pain that you can now inflict on others."

He drew the blade across Rivek's cheekbone, leaving a horizontal welt in its place. "And that, is for being born a true son of Ailinar. You have the birthright of a leader, and so you must know that the pain your followers inflict is also your responsibility."

With that, he placed the hilt in Rivek's left hand and began bandaging the boy's face.

"Thank you, father."


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 09 or 007/100 Themes - Heaven

"Evan." - Heaven. 7/100 Themes.

"Heaven" is not a word or concept that exists in Alisian, so the word is a phonetic translation of Common.

Rivek calls on his older sister, Mirab, when he needs help. Four years older than him, she used to tease him and beat him up when they were children. He has, however, always respected her as the stronger fighter and better leader.

She is a formidable fighter because, unlike her brother, she showed no magical prowess as a child. Her peers blamed her Brennan blood. It was a shock when her powers manifested late during puberty. She is based off the king cobra. Therefore, her magic power involves venom. What happens when she gets stressed in a ring cuts itself into the skin of her upper arm, and she begins bleeding. The blood actually forms a protective surface that is - at will - also poisonous and corrosive. They're referred to as the "Gloves." Yes, the process hurts.

Mirab abandoned her Brennan nationality entirely and adopted the mercenary business of her Alisian side. She shows no mercy towards foreigners who disrespect her culture.

In the effort to maintain their cultural identity, the Alisian hold on to many out-of-date rituals. The cross on the right cheek is the symbol for the Ailinar state, so many Ailinar citizens paint it on before battle. Mirab uses blood.

"Unfortunately for you, we Alisian do not believe in heaven. When we die, our ashes will go back to the earth. Where our souls go - well, that no one knows. My brother would say, that is proof that we should live our lives respectfully. But unlike my brother here, I am not so kind."


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 08 or 006/100 Themes - Breakaway

"Ruta liber." Breakaway. 6/100 Themes.

Rivek and Bohren, at 17 and 18 respectively, the latter helping the former walk to a meeting where he will sign away his citizenship.

A metaphorical rebirth, in a way. When Rivek is pardoned for impersonating nobility, he breaks free of the lies he made during that time. However, this forces him to adopt and accept his innate qualities as a dark-mage - an identity which is chained in its own right by a blood contract to Willow.

Bohren, though, is the kind of guy who would stick by his best friend no matter what crazy emotional crises he was going through. Not much of an identity breakaway there, but it high time where he has to come to terms with his own sexuality.

I liked this one, but I ran out of time on the execution. Notice the fast shading and... uh... how he's missing legs.

"You didn't even wash up, did you?"

"Well, I heard my best friend was finally conscious again."

"And thus, you subject his sensitive, avian nose to upir post-practice odor?"

"I'm afraid he'll have to deal with it until his charred legs can walk again by themselves."

"Well played, sir. Now, you taking me to sign my life away?"

"In blood, no less. I heard there's a bonus: free tattoo."

"Goddamn fantastic. I can't hardly wait."

"Good to have you back."

"Same here. Same here. Ow, watch your foot."

Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 07 or 005/100 Themes - Seeking Solace

"Venar kuia." - Seeking Solace. 5/100 Themes.

When Rivek isn't around, Willow seeks out Bohren. I didn't have time to write anything to accompany this.


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 06 or 004/100 Themes - Dark

"Imran" - Dark. 3/100 Themes.

I tend to forget to tell new followers that Rivek is not an angel - he's a guy who can turn into a peregrine falcon. Rivek's bird form is analogous to his human form (wings -> arms, legs -> legs), so any depiction of him with wings and arms is actually just aesthetic.

When Rivek turns back, he requires energy to put on the difference in mass. Therefore, he usually passes out for forty-eight hours. Unfortunately, scouts are meant to bring back information, not sleep.

Willow is a healer and has infinite energy. Consuming her blood happens to be the quickest method of keeping Rivek awake enough to give information after a scouting trip.

Also note that Rivek can't transform with clothing.

"They are playing in conservatively. There is an unfortified encampment of twelve Heilmdor soldiers about ten kilometers from ours. If we flank them, we can over take them easily."

"You want more, don't you?"


"Is there anything more you can tell me?"


"Too bad." She tapped her hand against the open cut in her forearm and slipped the medical glove back over her now-healed wrist. "Put on some pants, and go take a nap. I'll wake you up when we move out."


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 05 or 003/100 Themes - Light

"Lurum" - Light. 3/100 Themes.

Willowren is a light-mage, meaning her magic powers stem from her own strength of personality, not by taking energy through others. Her specialty is healing and has been handed down through many generations of her family.

Healing manifests itself as the ability to stimulate and control the growth of living tissue. As in ,that's right - she can give you cancer. Willowren is a cancer-mage.

"Hold still. I have to be careful. It's like needlepoint, Rivek. I close my eyes, and see everything differently. Every fiber in your body glows and vibrates, and all I need to do is ask nicely, and - where they've broken - they'll pull themselves back together. The thing is - I can't work with dead tissue. I can't bring the dead back to life."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Stop messing up."


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 04 or 002/100 Themes - Love

"Amea" - Love. 2/100 Themes.

Young Rivek (17) and Willow (15). At this age, her breasts are smaller. He is shorter, thinner, and has a smaller nose.

I guess I'm using this half-marathon to work on my story as much (if not more than) my art.

Willow lifted her hand to brush the rainwater from her bangs. As a result, the hem of her ballgown fell to the ground, and a mix of slush and mud began to seep up the fabric. The other side of her dress fell victim to the dirt as she reached out to stabilize herself against a tree. Goddamn, she never liked heels to begin with. She fumbled with the handle until the heavy barn doors creaked open.


"What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same question."

"Don't you have some official dance to be at?"

"I think I've been there long enough." She approached Rivek and swiftly stole the jesses from his hand. "That's so like you - out of bed when you most definitely haven't recovered from a head-to-toe set of third-degree burns. And to top it all off, working."

"Well, that's what a job's for, isn't it?"

She bit her lip. Figures he would hold onto anything he had left.

He turned away to continue tending to the birds. Willow indignantly wrapped the leather straps around her wrist.

"Come on," he laughed. "Need to pay my medical bills somehow."

"Just one dance."

He kissed her lightly on the forehead. "Okay, you win. Just one."


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 03

"What is that thing?"

"I have no idea, but there is no way I'm getting near it."

"Luckily you don't have to. It's going to kill him first."

Rivek howled as the bull ground its horns into his abdomen. One rage-fueled thrust gored him from navel to sternum. He gagged on the sour, burning blood pooling at the back of his throat.

But he felt energy - magic energy - far more than should be found in a single animal, more than should be found in a human being. The twisted horn became a channel, sending power through Rivek's nerves, cooling the overwhelming pain.

His heartbeat quickened, and his eyes shifted from green to gold signaling a primordial response to fend off impending doom in some last-ditch reflex. He drew his arms above his head and drove his knife between the plates of metal and into the monster's brain.

Its unnatural life-force flowed through the blade and into his hands. He gathered enough strength to tear himself from the horn and dropped to the ground, clutching his stomach and praying his intestines would not fall out of their cavity. His sight dimmed as he convulsed on the ground, only mildly aware of the panicked footsteps of his healer.


This ended up being another visual design failure but a story design success. Not only does this solidify the aforementioned plot (they bring the bull in for examination), but it gives a reason for the massive scar across his stomach.

Rivek is more a special ops agent than a knight and only sees action when others have failed. However, Willowren, the sole person he takes his orders from, has a distorted perception of dark-magic and tends to over-estimate his ability to fight and her ability to heal. Rivek is probably a quarter the size of and a tenth of the weight of the bull he went up against. Their contract, though, is ancient magic, sealed in blood and unspoken love, so he will always listen to her, even at the cost of his physical welfare.

Poor Rivek, I promise to stop abusing him soon.


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 02

Going off the idea from the previous post. This one used to be a horse. No fancy colors this time since I almost didn't make deadline. Oops.


Art: Art Half-Marathon 09, Day 01

I entered an "art half-marathon," meaning I need to do a drawing every day before midnight and upload it on deviantART. Or else I will lose, and I will forever shame my ancestors. Here's today's.

The driving plot of Mondigan is the continued war between the people of Heilmdor and Tyris. The former is a snowy, superstitious country which wants to extend its land into the more fertile latter.

I am playing around with an idea: Because he is a prince born with no magic powers, Sorian (Rivek's nemesis and foil) must compensate. He is intelligent, and with the help of magic-users under his command, mechanizes the local animal population to aid the Heilmdor, which never had a huge population to begin with. The animal armies are driven by a combination of magic and technology. However, they are difficult to control, often brutally murdering their handlers.

One of these creatures is defeated and brought back to the Tyrisian camp. A scientist there, Eamon Maier, deciphers how it works, but he finds flaws in the mechanism. Rivek is no engineering genius, but he is good at math. He reads the equation and points out that Eamon already has the answer that he's looking for.

"I know - but that's not possible. That doesn't exist!"

The missing variable is dark magic. While the creatures' limbs are driven by light magic, their minds must be captained by the opposite - and vice-versa. This puts Rivek right in the middle of a campaign to locate more dark magic users, one which eventually sends him back to his Alisian homeland.

"You knew the answer, Eamon. You simply refused to believe it."

I think this one was a squid.


Art: Sketch Commissions

Commissions from aloved, repeat client for her roleplay characters. I was asked to maintain a visual style used two years previous. I think I found the same background texture, actually. However, since my art's changed a lot, I hope it's still okay. Since I assumed the male characters were played by men, I tried to make them a bit more varied (ie - square jawed) than those I draw for my own amusement.


Art: 001/100 Themes - Introduction

It's cold out. Rivek in winter clothing. Much of the second story arc takes place in the frigid north. He's skinny - needs a lot of layers. On the front, he hasn't shaved in awhile, so his chin scruff has grown in, and his hair is marginally messier.

I drew this on his birthday (November 21st) which is kind of my personal holiday every year.

I've attached this interview-thing I wrote for an RP contest two years ago.

Although this article was unearthed in a library, miles from its country of origin, we presume the text presented here originated from a journal, circa mid 1260 during the Boundary Wars, of an unknown scholar or clergyman – although we can assume he is not Alisian. Wording has been translated slightly for modern readability, but it nevertheless provides some insight into the religious and political situation of the time period.

The first thing I noticed about Rivek Ailinar was how thin he was. He looked awkward beneath the thick soldier’s cloaks they handed out as uniforms. Was this really the half-Alisian fighter, our country’s supposed secret weapon? How was this man – I use the term ‘man’ loosely because he looks like he can’t lift a knife (and he’s got Blackblood in him, anyway, which makes his very humanity questionable) – supposed to stop a blow let alone secure an entire country’s border?

He poured himself a mug of water from a nearby pitcher as I readied my papers. “I don’t understand you scholarly types,” he muttered. “Reading only ever got me so far, you know.”

He breathed into his hands for warmth. Here, at the edge of the world. The hellish, freezing, end of the world.

“I don’t appreciate people prying into my life, but her Majesty” – he made a face, then, as if the title were something laughable – “believes I should talk to you, I will. I trust you’re not here to kill me.”

The look in his eyes said if I tried, I’d be dead first. Death threats, and I hadn’t even said anything, ha!

To my surprise, he dipped his fingers into the water and washed the dried blood off his face. Red blood, so it couldn’t have been his. “Just business,” he shrugged. “It’s what you get, for asking me to speak with you right after a skirmish.” They say people like him – people accustomed to lying – are very good at noticing facial changes, so he must have seen mine. (I admit, I have vomited at the stench of death before. I hate field reports.) Finished cleaning himself, he threw the water into the snow and refilled the flagon with half an inch of whiskey.

“So, what do you want to know?”

“Well, let’s start off with something simple… Do you have an embarrassing or annoying habit, routine, or secret? If not, describe an embarrassing moment from your past.

“And here I thought the first thing you’d ask me would be my name. They certainly raise them polite nowadays.” Who was he to call me impolite? He sat down on a stump – one of many trees cleared to make camp. Well, he did have some sort of manners. He carried himself like a nobleman rather than a solider – back straight, head high, and mind wary.

He paused as he thought about the question. “Mind you, Milady said this would be confidential – I will personally wring your neck if any of this information is found while I’m alive.” He sighed, “It’s as if she completely expects me to get killed out here…”

I nodded.

“I hope that means you’ll keep this quiet.” He smiled wryly, “I think the answer you’re looking for is that I sacrifice small children to the Dark Goddess. You’d only be half correct. Blood tastes good, I’ll admit that. It just so happens I’ve a habit of eating my meat raw – and often furry. Tastes better that way – mice, fish, you name it. (Although fish aren’t exactly furry…;) The hawk-magic causes the cravings and doubly makes sure I don’t get sick from eating carcasses… Or – if you’re looking for something more exciting,” he smirked, swallowing the liquor in one motion before continuing. “I’ve slept with other men,” - he lowered his voice, “and enjoyed it.”

Disgusting, absolutely disgusting! Vile.

He waved his hand a bit, “It’s not a big deal where I’m from, you know. Men who like men, women who like women – yes, in that way – are just given different roles. Being they can’t have their own, they become substitute parents for children whose real ones had died. But then again, I still wouldn’t tell anyone even if they were Alisian – if you become a caretaker, no one believes you can fight anymore. I can’t live like that.”

He laughed at me when I coughed, trying to cover my mental reaction. “Well, next question here… what do you do to relax?

He raised his eyebrow at me again. I hadn’t noticed it before, but his eyes were changing colors – before, when he first spoke to me, they were yellow, and now they’d turned blue, a cobalt color that would be a lot prettier if his eyes weren’t slanted. Changing eyes were, besides blood color, the only tell-tale sign of magic, and his was strong.

“Relax? I drink – tea or liquor, depends on the night. Or hunt mice to give into that previously described habit. I go off into the woods. People who know me have gotten used to it - sleeping in trees helps calm me down, but it can get hard on the spine if I stay like this. I’ll change into falcon form if I have the energy and know that, when I change back, I’ll have a set of clothes ready for me.”

So the rumors were true. The man’s power lay in self-transfiguration. At least he wasn’t super-human, as they also said. There was still no person on record who can complete a change with their clothes on.

“As long as I’m left alone, things are fine. There are very few people I would want to share time with. It’s not so much a period of relaxation as just ignoring everything – and everyone – else.”

“Moving on…” It was clear he didn’t like me, even if all I was doing was reading off a list my abbot had given me. “What sort of upbringing did you have?

“So here are the real questions. I bet you expected my childhood to be rotten. Actually, it was pretty good up to a point when your church got in the way. Sure, I had the crap beaten out of me a couple times – a lot of times – but that was mostly well-deserved, and if anything, good practice. I was born on the Alisian Isles and lived there until I was eight. Learned to fight there, too. This scar is from one of the rituals.”

He pointed to the cross-shaped monstrosity below his right-eye. “If you believe in the old stories – the historical ones, not the ones your people made up – there was once a general, the hawk-mage Ailinar Vaulkner, whom my family named themselves after. His right eye had been torn out in battle. This is how we honor him – before receiving your first weapon, you take a cut across the cheek and learn what kind of pain you can cause. If you’re like me - your mom or dad is the head of the clan – you get another one, down the eye itself, so you realize the pain your clan causes others is also your responsibility. Of course, these cuts are supposed to heal in days. Mine infected, and I scar easily. Enough said. Magic saved my vision, but it’s still not as good as my left.”

“As fate and religion would have it, my mother and father divorced, and I went with my mother to the Mainland. I knew it would happen, they fought all the time. Mother was only nineteen when she got pregnant and ran off with Dad. They say Alisians are good in bed.” Rivek winked. “Not that you’d know, monk. As for that pregnancy, I have an older sister, Mirab, who still lives on the Islands. I wonder what she would think of me now, entangled in all this, and giving interviews.”

“Mom remarried and had another kid – Artorin is eight years younger than me. When she and my step-father died, my – eh, how did this go again? - step-father’s cousin took me in along with Arti. Suffice to say, I splinted his son’s dislocated arm – basic Alisian medical practice – and Bohren and I became friends. He…” Rivek smiled, obviously this was something he was fond of. “Bohren taught me to read, and without him, I never would have even considered school.”

He sighed, “You know what made my childhood good? I was foolish, but I had friends. Real ones who didn’t care how what I was affected who I was. I’d be dead without them. Literally. I owe my Liege my life, so to speak. And I’ll hold myself to that.”

I wish he had elaborated on that. I know I shouldn’t have been so entranced by the concept of scandal, but what could Her Majesty possibly see in this man?

I continued. Perhaps there was more here than he let on. “So, say, you have just attained something material you have been working towards for a long time but someone important to you also wants this item. What is the item? Who is the 'someone important'? Finally, what do you do?

“Easy. Sort of.” He reached under his tunic, unfolding a ragged piece of paper he had kept near his skin.

“See this? This is a royal pardon that puts me in the personal employ of Princess Willowren Veruna Solan. It keeps my own army from killing me and negates most of the things I’ve done in the past. Or course, it means I do a lot of dirty work, but that’s a small price to pay. Dirty work’s more fun. The pardon’s not of much use to anyone else, though. It has my name in ink, so scratching it out isn’t particularly effective. The only people who would want it would probably be people aiming to hurt me – in which case, why should I let them get so close anymore? I’d deal with them as I see fit, if you know what I mean. If Will, well… if Will wanted it back, then I don’t know what I’d do.”

He addressed a royal figure by her first name? Just how ‘;personal’ was his employment? But before I could elaborate, he said, “Never mind that. A horde of gold would be a pretty nice thing to get, too. I lead a simple life, but I could always use the cash. If anyone I could trust wanted that… well, we’d just arrange a deal. A favor from me now means a favor from them later.”

My boss had told me the next question held personal interest to him, and he had insisted I uncover accurate information. “Rivek, suppose you learned a lover, kin or someone else very close to you betrayed you to an enemy. Who was the betrayer and who was the enemy? What happened?

“You have no right to call me by that name.”

“I am sorry, Sir, I -.”

“I have no title, either. I’m flattered, but someone else’ll be irritated hearing you call me that. To you, my name is ‘Ailinar.’ In our culture, we use our family names in formal settings. I’m sure that one word’s enough for you. I highly doubt you know any other Ailinars.”

“Of course, Ailinar.”

“That’s better. Although, now, your questions are getting a little too personal. If anyone asks, my enemy is the Heilmdor, Prince Sorian – yes, the man who thinks our border territories are his for the taking. The same godforsaken frigid territories we’re sitting in right now.”

“Well, I’m afraid that’s not the question, I didn’t ask you who your enemy was.”

“I know. Part of me thinks you’re not just asking a hypothetical. Does it count, if at the time, you didn’t know your enemy was your enemy?”

“I suppose.”

“… Then I figure, if this is going into a book somewhere, and someone’s going to read it someday when my body’s turned to ash, then I should tell you the truth.”


“The betrayer in question would have been the late Prince Fenne of Brennan. I am half-Brennan, you see, via my mother, but that doesn’t seem to matter anymore. The enemy would be have been the King himself. I suppose, it was my own stupidity to trust him, to let him be my friend – he had always been his father’s boy.”

He fingered a spot between his ribs. “We were young, sneaking out of the palace, and we got assaulted by bandits. Fenne was never a good fighter, so we ran. Unfortunately, he was just as slow as he was incapable of defending himself. I took an arrow in the side. And wouldn’t you know it, I started bleeding. And it hurt. It’s acid. It’s hard you know, keeping it down, the Blackblood. Blood for blood and whatnot, I killed one of them, and it felt good. All in all, he saw what I did, what color came out of the wound. Although he helped me up, we walked back in silence. My roommate, the boy I mentioned before, Bohren, cleaned up the wound when I got back. Fenne disappeared. I thought we were fine, but now that I think about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the Royal Guard broke into my room at sunrise. I was arrested on counts of dark magic, heresy, and impersonating a nobleman for seven years… I mean, honestly. I grow feathers. What harm am I going to do?”

I didn’t realize how he had been involved in things, politically. From what the priest had told me, I assumed he’d been some bastard child they picked out of nowhere for his killing ability.

“Suffice to say, things were tense between Fenne and I afterwards. That pardon was a birthday gift from Will, so to speak. A gift so I would keep having birthdays and wouldn’t be roasted on a spit – which Fenne’s father had decided was appropriate punishment for me. Anyway, I… I’m not sure how I feel now, only that I know I’m in debt to Will. Even after he died, I never got over the fact that Fenne was the one who sold me out. I’ve tried to forgive him – he did try to make it up to me afterwards, but only after I’d saved his hide again. I’ve tried. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to forgive him, but there’s no way I’ll be able to forget.”

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just moved on, “What would you do if you permanently lost your powers or greatest strength?

He laughed. “Get killed pretty quickly. When I fight, everything is pretty much based on my being faster than the other person – and the hawk-magic is what gives me that speed. Without it, I’d probably be just a little better than average.” He seemed relieved I wasn’t going to discuss his past anymore.

“Well, if luck would have it that I didn’t die in some bar brawl, I’d probably go hermit-style in the woods or take up a trade. I have no idea what I would be good at, though. I’ve always based what I do around being half bird, basically. Maybe I could be a butcher. That doesn’t seem to require much training. Or a moneylender – I’m good with math. But that job might get me killed every quicker.”

He paused, “Actually, I take that back. I think… if I lost it all, I’d go home. Home, not like Tirid and Will – much as I would miss them - , but home to see my father. Who knows, I might end up doing trade work there.”

“A butcher, eh?”

“Well, I did say I liked raw meat.”

I smiled. Maybe he wasn’t that bad. He was at least trying to joke with me. “Ailinar, eh, next question.”

“It better be something along the lines of ‘will you take this offering of brandy’…”

“Sorry, no. How would you deal if you failed in a major undertaking?

“Clergyman or not, you really, really, ought to buy me a drink after this. If I fail – lord knows I have – then I get pissed, drink some, or fly off into the woods on occasion. Depends on what it is, really. If I lose a fight, then I pick another one and win it. That can be a bad habit, though. Eventually though, if it’s those things where you can try again, and it’s worth your time doing so, then I probably will. I’ve run away from my failures more times than I would like to admit, though. That… that Fenne issue being one of them.”

What do you think of the society around you and your place in it? Do you feel you deserve your station, do you seek better? Do you support the society or do you seek to change it?

“I thought you would have figured out my position on that now. Society is a load of horse crap, I think. You know, when they tried me, they never mentioned the man I killed, only that I was some sort of demon – which I’m not.”

He rolled up his left sleeve to his shoulder, revealing a tattoo. The six-spoke wheel was a symbol used to identify dark mages. “No, I don’t think I deserved to be branded. Of course, I seek better if I can get it. I mean, I’ve been lucky so far, position in the royal guard. I’d rather not be some noblewoman’s pet bird, though. To be honest, the only difference between us is what god we believe in and what power we may have been born with. Hell, not even. The only difference is, for us, darkness is darkness, and for you, darkness is evil. Pick up one of my scriptures one day, if you have the time. If I could change the way you see things, I very well would, but I’ll focus on surviving first. Idealists cause too much trouble, and they’re usually pretty pigheaded, anyhow. Nobody pays attention to them.”

He breathed into his hands again, and I was once again reminded of the cold. “Is this conversation over now?”

“I’m sorry, just two more.” He rolled his eyes. “During your travels you have picked up a protégé along the way. As a mentor, what do you consider most important to teach them? How will you teach them this, and why is this so important?

“A protégé?” he laughed. “Who in their right mind wants to learn from me?”

... I wrote this a long time ago, and I don't have the drive to complete it, so I just kind of have to leave it like this. Sorry. ...

Art: Rivek Studies

We are teaching the freshmen head modeling in ACM SIGGRAPH, so I decided to futher a personal project of mine during the tutorial. I think this is a pretty definitive piece for Rivek's facial construction.

I wanted to draw Rivek in the outfit from this picture, to get a better sense of it. I think after drawing this a few more times, it will become a permanent change.

I figured it might be easier to draw over a body to give myself more freedom of clothing design. So I drew Rivek in boxers (they're dark blue or grey, for the curious). You can see his birthmark(at his waist) and his tattoo (on his left upper arm). The various scars are mostly from the fire in his teen years, various battles, or reckless childhood decisions. Like sleeping in trees. The large one across his abdomen would have killed him if it weren't for Willowren. The one on his left trapezius is from his first real battle. The one on his right pectoral busted his lung.

Rumor has is that there exists only one true portrait of Rivek Ailinar. The difficulty now - eight hundred years later - is distinguishing it from the fakes. Since the man's dead, he has become a historical figurehead for Alisian nationals, notably those residing in other countries. The only consistent visual is the cross-shaped scar on his face. Medieval literature verifies this mark, but its origin has been debated.

However, I believe we may have found it. Ailinar's own documents - which are sparse and written in archaic Alisian - imply that he may have sat for his half-brother and well-known painter, Artorin Cordelain. ("Half-brother" is my own opinion. No substantial evidence links Ailinar by blood to any nobles in that time period.)

I point out this piece since it is so different from any of the others we have found. The subject's physique is significantly thinner, and his facial features are more distinguished. There are still strong stylistic tones, but the lack of idealism suggests a more intimate knowledge of the subject. Personally, though, what I liked best about it the sense of honesty it emits. There is no implied symbolism. This is Ailinar as he would be as a man, not an eight-hundred year old story.

Rivek sits like a girl.

Art: Random Sketches from October

This is the final visual design for Cinderella from the Prince project. I think I've made him my favorite. A conversation with my roommate really helped further the story along - the glass slipper is now an etched pocket watch.

Paul Barnett of EA Mythic came to talk at our school. He gave a great - honest and hilarious - lecture, and then afterwards, challenged me to draw a "Victorian warrior princess." This was the first sketch, done during GameX. Since then, I submitted some better-looking contours. But also since then, EA underwent massive layoffs (including our recruiter). Not sure what's going to happen from here.

I'm still trying re-designs for different nations in my story. Here's Bohren at a later age (around 28.). I like the shoulder-pads, but I think so far, it's a little Wolverine-Wade-Wilson in overall flow. Yes, he has facial hair at he gets older.

An old character from high school, when I was more into BL. Adrian is a male prostitute, his boyish looks a combination of make-up and malnourishment throughout puberty. Although he's now experienced and in-demand to the point where he can choose his clients, he still has all kinds of hepatitis and syphilis. It never made sense to me why, in harem stories, no one ever got STDs.

And finally, some very old drawings for an art trade on Gaia Online with sinxai.


Art: Thank you for 100k hits!

Thank you for 100,000 hits on deviantART and a great twenty-first birthday! He's drinking because now I can, too.... but he's a lightweight, like me. But he can make it through four... I can't make it through one. Awkward hands are awkward. When it comes to sketches I kind of stop caring after I finish the face...


Art: Steampunk Concepts

I have kept this project under wraps for about a month and a half now, but it's the main reason I haven't been posting so much. This is my entry for GameXpo's Steampunk Art Contest - a conference which is occurring this weekend. For me, it's a more formal foray into game artwork.

The setting draws from and visually defines the previous alternate universe Steampunk headworld of Rivek. I truly enjoy translating my characters into different worlds because it's a mental challenge of maintaining their personalities in the different environment. Like, how would their occupations change? Their clothing? Their histories?

"The Bow and the Rose" is the love story of a vigilante and a duke's daughter. In this universe, steam power (much like nuclear power) was invented during war. As a result, there are two classes: the people who use steam power and the people who make it. With Steampunk being itself an idealism of Victorian ideals, this story involves what kind of history-inspired idealism would be present in a Steampunk world. It also requires some (a lot) of suspension of disbelief ...

Ari Kovalev is a direct analogy to Rivek. Rivek's initials are A. A. R. I. and the history behind the Alisian religion mirrors that of Judiasm. He is a middle-management coal-shoveler, a peacetime position inherited form his father. He idolized his father and picked up all his mechanical knowledge through oral tradition and experimentation. Thus, he only has colloquial literacy. However, while the two of them were serving in the military, an accident happened. Ari lost his arm, and his father lost his life. The coat he wears is his father's, but modified to suit his form.

Ari has a Robin Hood belief that there shouldn't be such a large division between classes. After all, a low-life like him could build a working mechanical arm. He holds onto this notion frm his grandfather - that times were much simpler and happier prior to the war which produced steam technology. Hence, his prefferred weapon is a bow. It's primitive in design, but it hints at the meritocracy Ari would prefer. Unlike uncontrollable steam power, a bow can only be lethal in the right hands.

A close-up of the portrait. The wires are actually stitched to his neck... and he's always covered in dirt.

Solaris Williamsburg is from the other side of the tracks, a rich girl who grew up knowing all the wonderous luxuries provided by steam power. Her counterpart, Willowren is a princess whose spoiled existence is finally interrupted when she makes contact with people of different background than hers. Her uncle is a rich and powerful duke who prefers to treat her like a caged bird. However, when people are affluent, they tend to invest money in culture and the arts. Thus, Solaris knows all about history, and she is smitten with fairy tales of dashing men rescuing the downtrodden. So, any instance she can, she leaves her quarters and drops roses in places Ari will find them. She is not in love with him - persay - just the ideals he stands for.

I put quite a bit of thought into the arm. It's meant to be a replacement, not something superpowered. Therefore, it's modeled after human anatomy. There is bone underneath, providing it with mechanical force. However, during the accident, most of Ari's flesh had been damaged so badly it had to be removed. The brass arm requires regular maintenance and cleaning to avoid infection. The point where it joins into Ari's shoulder is his main physical weakpoint, and it has actually disfigured the anatomy there.

Ari is left-handed, so he continues to do most things with his biological hand - especially those which require fine accuracy.

During their courtship, Ari gives Solaris a mechanical bird he built. It's a music box made of brass. It's a swallow, his symbol. She returns in kind with roses.

I've been taking a Game Design and Development course. I like it, but I am learning that game mechanics is not my strength. I can easily implement things and come up with good art/settings - but like it bores me to tears trying to come up with the optimal equipment for my lovingly back-storied, Dungeons and Dragons character. (By the by, his name is Robin Ian Batman, and he is a sixteen-year-old druid boy with a bear... who turns into a bear... and has a bag of tricks which can make more bears...) But hey, if anyone needs a look or setting for there game, I'm so there.

Art: Zombie Lightning Round for Amy

Late zombie drawing for PhoenixElement. I have a hard time spelling "phoenix."


Art: Clothing Designs

Not-so-secretly, the countries I design are actually based on the seven deadly sins. The Alisians' greatest flaw is pride, a nationalistic sense and strong xenophobia which causes them to obsess over honro and traditional rituals. The Vestanzans are lustful, a country of high population and great focus on physical appearance. The Akhari are gluttonous, funding luxuries while depriving people of basic needs.

A drawing of Rivek, in Alisian clothing which needs to be re-designed. I still like the sleeves, though - I think I'll keep them as part of the culture designs. I am very happy with his face.

Cina is a Vestanzan exchange student, also Rivek's first girlfriend. She's a slut, haha. Vestanzan elements include the high-collared coat, thigh boots, and flame-shaped edges.

The Akhari wear lots of light, long, flowing cloth. Their patterns are simple, made mostly of straight lines. They use braided gloden belts. Most notable, though, is the dusters.

Belsamael is the Akhari prince whose country needs him to bear a child because the fire-wielding magic of the (highly inbred) family line must continue. Unfortunately, he's gay, haha.

Rivek, in Akhari clothes. Because I can. I wanted more examples of Akhari clothing but wanted to customize it for a different, already-established character.


Art: Prince Project and Mondigan Designs

It's been awhile. I've been drawing on and off, just got back from New York Anime Fest - where I actually learned a lot more about comic conventions. I might give one a shot. My table partner, Alitha, mentioned that audiences might really appreciate the pencil renders more.

During NYAF, someone asked me if I had a version of this in color. I said no, whereupon she lost interest in purchasing it. It's not that I don't like color - it's that, for that style - color actually takes away from the regality of the pieces. They are meant to look like emblems, carved in stone (which is why I'll never do one for a poppy, bubble-gum, neon rainbow, series). I've gotten comments before with, "Oh wow! You're really good. I just didn't see if when I walked by since it wasn't in color!"

Another issue about comic cons, though... The thing is while - with effort - I can draw super buff super heroes, I just prefer lean (read: scrawny) guys. So part of me is thinking I can't survive in the testosterone laden, fan-boy world. But maybe it's a good thing if I can reach out to those few female comic book nerds or at least offer something a little different than hard inks and harder abs.

Anywho, re-designing Rivek since I want to do a 3D model of him for a pseudo capstone. The bad part being the art department no longer has ZBrush. (Why? Why? Why?! *sob*)

On the same lengths, I'm trying to develop a video game - specifically MMO - visual style for the storyline. So, different nations have different fashions. This is Brennan - lots of straight cuts and square shapes, with shoulder guards, tunics, and high boots. It's a country of leather and religion where maintaining order - and thus, power - is top prioirty. Bohren- a full Brennan noble - is on the left, but I hated his arm, so I re-drew the same clothing style on Rivek - a half-Brennan - on the right, and now I hate his neck. Whatever, the point of this was clothes, not anatomy.

I also start a wiki to keep character data on, so I need some pictures to break up the massive amounts of text. This is my old roleplay character, Aidan. However, here, his eyes make him look like a butch lesbian woman, so I'll need to re-draw this. Oddly enough, My roommate said she might make out with him.

Another wiki headshot. Bohren. I think the facial aspects are accurate but a bit too youthful. I have to re-draw this one, too. Bad scan is bad.

Also, here are some sketches from the Prince Project. It still needs a lot of work. School has put the research phase on hold

I also quite want to do a sequential art project based on Mozart's Requiem. Basically, it'd be a pencil-rendered comic book (so, maybe a little more like a fine art book like Prince). But right now, I lack a story. I don't know what though! Should I connect it to my old work? Ah, I have no idea.


Art: Jason for Adele

I'm alive, I swear. I've just wasted August developing an alternative ego with a semi-embarrassing, anime-inspired style that still looks too wonky to even post here. Anyhow, I finally completed something worthwhile. My scanned blew out a lot of value detail and transition, though. It's an art trade with Adele. You can see her half here - I absolutely adore her style!