Art: 042/100 Themes - Standing Still

"Stera stil." Standing Still. - 42/100 Themes.

This is a prose-style re-write of something I did for screenwriting class. Andell is Willowren's doting older brother. He has a sunny disposition, but always is more ready with a joke than a plan. He had just finished medical school before being sent to be a war general. Of course, Sorian interprets Andell's preference for politics instead of battle as simple laziness, so he kills him - hoping to put that throne in his own, more capable, hands. However, his death actually puts Willowren next in line for the throne, and inspires her to seriously take on the healing arts.


From his vantage point on the butte, Sorian gazed across the ice-covered fields, subconsciously smiling as the two nations' armies clashed. He stroked the white mane of the horse he rode and patted the down cloak of his military uniform. His armor was made of gray steel edged with white fur, much like his soldiers' below, but embroidered with golden, religious symbols that spoke to his royal status. "For Heilmdor" was engraved on its breastplate, over his heart. He laughed, and fog poured from the mouth grate of his horned helmet, emerging through its sculpted, carnivorous grin like a demon's smoking breath.

He blinked, searching for the opposition's green and gold flag. For all their finesse in swordsmanship, the Tyrisi were felled by such simple opponents as slippery rocks jutting out from the snow. Sorian's men hacked through their opponents with wide, gleeful swings. The ice was their home.

Eager to rejoin the fray, he tightened his grip on his horse's reins. The animal, also covered in matching, patterned armor, shuffled its thick, furry legs in response. It tossed its head, indicating it had no intention of descending the frozen slope. Sorian disciplined it with a sharp tug and nudged it forward with his golden spurs. The beast hung its head and walked, guided by Sorian's ankles pricking its sides.

He scanned the ground ahead with professional ease, looking for spots the steed might have trouble with. As they trekked, he noticed a trail of abnormally bright, red blood. He turned the horse to follow it. The droplets grew larger and brighter each step.

Sorian dismounted to follow it, still maintaining his slow, deliberate pace. The sound of battle faded away. He found himself in a secluded patch of forest. The pine tree tops formed a circle overhead, revealing a patch of gray sky. Two crows sat above, circling and watching with their beady, black eyes.

A young man with chestnut hair crouched amidst his cast-off armor and weaponry. He wore a green tunic and a gold circlet around his head. Sorian recognized him immediately. This was Andell, the crown prince or Tyris and his sworn enemy.

He clutched his right arm. Bright red blood pumped out of an exposed artery. He pressed snow into the wound, trying to get it to stem the flow. He ran his fingers over the gash, summoning his healing magic to suture it. The skin moved at his command, but he was too tired to fully close the seal. His cheeks were pale and grey from the cold.

Andell laughed nervously, "You must Sorian. War-Prince of the Icy North."

Sorian nodded. More warm breath escaped from his mask. It condensed on the iron surface making it seem as if the gnarled, fake face were sweating.

"I was never into that war thing," Andell continued, using his legs to push himself backward. "Always preferred politics to beatings, myself. It's what you get when you come from a family of doctors. Royal doctors, especially."

Sorian unsheathed his sword and motioned for Andell to rise. The other prince merely squinted in confusion and shook his head. Sorian gestured again, letting a growl out through the mask. It echoed through the metal teeth. Andell leaned back against a tree and used it to lever himself upwards. He pointed to the badge Sorian wore at his belt, a gold disc embossed with a roaring lion's head, "I hear they call you the 'lion.' Must be nice to have a good, unique title like that. I have to settle for just 'prince'."

Unamused, Sorian stepped forward. Andell backed away instinctively, moving to the side of the tree. Sorian picked up Andell's sword. The handle was wrapped in green and had an intricately carved stag in its pommel. He snorted. This blade was more for decoration than for practical use. Nevertheless, he held it, hilt out to Andell.

Andell took the sword in his good left hand and stepped back, assuming a shaky, high guard. Sorian rushed forward. Too weak to block the move, Andell stepped to the side, parrying at the last second. However, the speed required for the move had left him too exposed to recover quickly. Sorian spun on his heel and lunged forward again. This time, he swung up from the ground.

The already wounded prince could not move in time, and the blow cleanly severed his leg. He fell to his side with a brutal thud, dropping his sword. He rolled onto his back only to find Sorian standing over him. He panted, "They also say you take no mercy. Not even towards healers. And especially not towards royalty."

"In certain cases, perhaps, but I see no reason to pity those who cannot prove they are worthy of their assets. If you cannot perform the simple task of deflecting an infantry arrow to hold your father's land, it might as well belong to a better candidate."

He dropped his sword down onto the shoulder joint of Andell's bleeding arm. It took three clean hacks to sever the limb. The prince screamed, but Sorian did not react. He took the dismembered arm and laid it off to the side. Bright blood spurted into the snow, darkening as it touched the ground.

He began to methodically remove Andell's other limbs with the same medical precision. As each appendage came off, Andell's voice grew quieter shrinking from a howl to a whimper. As he sawed through the hip joint of Andell's last leg, all Sorian could hear was ragged breathing.

Andell lay immobile. Only his chest moved, heaving up and down. His eyes rolled back into his head, and his mouth gaped open. Sorian knelt and tore at his victim's clothing. He unearthed Andell's royal signet ring, inlaid with emeralds and gingerly held by a chain around the fallen man's neck. He took it in his palm and yanked on it with enough force to snap the gilded line. He kissed the stag carved into its face. Finally, he took off his glove and slipped it on his own finger.

With one last, disdainful look, he turned around and swiftly lopped off Andell's head. He stood and held it under his foot as the crows circled above him, enjoying the stillness of the icy air.


Art: 041/100 Themes - Teamwork

"Lavor Suadio." Teamwork. - 41/100 Themes.

Fenne is my secondary villain who is forms a contrast to Sorian. Both are princes who want to please their fathers and seem worthy of the crown.

However, Sorian is a very direct villain who should still be respected for his intelligence and bravery - he just takes things too far.

On the other hand, Fenne is a coward who is too afraid to put himself in a position to gain true respect. He sells people out and makes petty, vindictive political plays.

Rivek joins the royal guard as a way to become a more useful human being. As a result, he engages in physical combat to save Fenne's life, and his heretical powers are exposed. When Rivek is sent to court, Fenne is too pre-occupied with looking good in front of his father than to speak up and save his friend. Hence, when they are in a situation again - Fenne depending on Rivek - there is nothing but bitterness. But Rivek finds himself in a catch - if he abandons Fenne out of vengeance, he will be no better than his opponent.


Rivek wiped the blood from the base of his nose. His nostrils burned as if he had just vomited up the wrong passageway. He rubbed his temples to chase away the ringing in his ears. He brushed the ash off his limbs, taking count to make sure they were still there in one piece. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, he checked his belt. Good. His knife was still there.

Still shaken, but satisfied with his condition, he began scouring the rubble, looking for signs of life. He thought he saw a broken door frame lift upwards a few inches. He waded, knee-deep in debris. There was someone alive under there. He could feel it. He drew his knife, keeping it in his left hand.

If he wanted to keep his weapon hand free, he would have to be smart about lifting the door. He searched along its edge for the best point to grab. Here, if he pivoted it a little, he could use a piece of broken foundation as a fulcrum. He grabbed the corner, wincing as splinters dug into right palm. Despite consistent treatment, the skin had not fully healed yet. He braced his legs among the broken moulding and threw his entire weight into his arm, lifting the structure above his head.

The moment he fully extended his arm, his right elbow locked and began to shake. Without thinking, he caught the falling door with his left, knife still in his palm.

Shit, he thought. If whoever was down here wasn't the particularly friendly sort, his entire abdomen was now an open target. This is what you get for helping people. He looked down.


The thin prince lay on his side, wheezing. He looked up at his rescuer. It took a few seconds before the recognition spread across his face.

"Cordelain, help me. Take me to my father."

He sat up and brushed the waves of matted auburn hair out of his eyes. Rivek could no longer tell what marks on his face were dirt and which were freckles. He quickly sheathed the knife, so he could use both hands to support the door.

"Did you forget, your highness? I haven't been 'Cordelain' for awhile, nor will I ever again. I don't have an obligation to help you here."

Fenne whined. Rivek paused and took a step back, letting the door fall.

"Wait -!"

Rivek caught the door on his shoulder, supporting it with his legs and entire back, rather than his shaking arms, made it much easier.

"You can't leave me."

"I think it's high time the royally of Brennan stop telling me what I can and cannot do."

Fenne shook. "You can't leave me because if you did, you'd be fulfilling every stereotype that they threw at you in that courtroom - the same judgements you fought so hard to turn around. And this time, you would burn. The punishment for regicide is death. You know it as well as I do."

Rivek bared his teeth, but he kept the door propped up on his shoulder. He nodded, "You should get out before I change my mind."

Fenne scuttled out, and Rivek let the frame drop back onto the ground, raising a massive cloud of dust. He coughed and turned to face Fenne.

"You still have your sword."

He gave the scabbard a harsh tug, breaking the gilded snaps that held it to Fenne's belt. He grabbed Fenne by the collar.

"Now, listen here. Given I don't report to you anymore, you can't just expect me to handle every bad guy that comes along. You're going to learn this little thing I like to call, 'teamwork.'"

He shoved the sword into the prince's bleeding hands. Rivek smirked. About time that spoiled brat get a callous on his fingers.

"We'll find your dad. But we'll do it together. As equals."


Art: 40/100 Themes - Rated.

"Ordiarei." Rated. - 40/100 Themes.

Drawn while listening to a lecture by Jon Foster, one of my favorite artists. I actually really like how he can create a dynamic, floating feel to his characters.


"I will not be beaten by some second-rate, animal!"


Art: 039/100 Themes - Abandoned

"Perinarei." Abandoned. - 39/100 Themes.

Rivek finds Vika as a fledgling and nurses him back to health after his mother dies out of negligence. Slowly, his magic flows into the bird, and Vika becomes an emotional, intellectual extension of himself - a very sarcastic, brutally honest extension. They are tied together spiritually, and each one reflects the other. So, if either were to die, the other would as well. Part of their shared bond comes from the fact that they are both abandoned children.

Rivek undid the tethers on the falcon’s legs and extended his arm. The bird hopped on indignantly on his gloved hand.

You don’t need to use those awful things, you know. Or do you not trust me enough?

“I trust you. It’s other people I don’t trust. An un-tagged bird on palace grounds? You'd be re-claimed in minutes. And I assure you, whoever it is will not be nearly as nice. Or as good of an avian conversationalist."

I hate it when you’re right.

Vika extended his wings. With one modest push, he took to the air, searching for prey.

As Vika circled the warm air above, Rivek closed his eyes, listening for voices in the grass. Since he had been a child, he could see and hear the thoughts of birds. Most of the time, they thought about food. Though Rivek had to admit that he was no different.

The sparrows hidden by the foliage were quite content focused on finding seeds.

You’re supposed to be helping me chase them out.

“Ah, but I have higher expectations of you. You’re not a bird of average intelligence, you know. It wouldn’t be fair for them.”

Vika let out a screeching cry. All the small birds looked up, searching for the predator above them.

"You’re wrong,” Rivek said to them. “There’s no big, scary, hawk up there," he laughed. He watched the thoughts in the sparrow's minds change, from images deadly shadows back to images of their next meal. Once again, busy with food, they stayed buried in the grasses.

I know what you’re doing. You’re making this far harder than it needs to be.

Rivek shrugged, fully aware the bird could see him below with his impeccable eyesight. “You’re getting fat.”

If I’m getting fat, then you are, too. You know that’s how it works.

“You cut me to the bone, sir,” Rivek mocked. He looked towards the field for the sparrows. Still there. Still eating. “Well,” he said. “Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps there’s a big, black shadow looming over you all. Better run while you can.”

The grass rustled, followed by a flurry of feathers as the sparrows took to the air.

Don’t think I’m going to actually thank you.

Vika tucked in his wing and dove, a spectacular display of speed. There was no way the sparrow could have escaped in time. He pegged it on the wing, sending it spinning and broken from the force of gravity. He landed on top of it in the dirt and crushed its neck. Rivek beckoned with his covered hand, and Vika picked up the kill. He landed on the outstretched glove with his prize and immediately began eating. Rivek reached over to take a piece.

Hands off. You didn’t do anything.

“You might be right about that one. Might be.” Rivek shrugged and took a wing anyway, spitting the cleaned bones onto the ground. Blood still on his lips, he kissed the bird on his head and let him finish his meal. Vika ruffled his feathers, beating the man off with his wings.

You know what it’s like, to only be able to talk to you? Exceptionally boring.


Art: 038/100 Themes - Dreams

"Dechideran." Dreams. - 38/100 Themes.

I wanted a villain that people could relate to, who you could understand why he does things and why he goes over the edge. Much of Sorian's motivation comes from constant comparison to his older brother - who is the heir to the Heilmdor throne. He has deeply-seated envy and desire to look good in front of his father. That's why he values hard work so highly, because he sees his brother as piddling, foolish, and undeserved of their title.

I think all the characters in my world have mommy-daddy issues, haha.


Sorian gazed at his brother's portrait, hanging in its gilded frame on the wall. "One day," he muttered. "I will show Father how much of a fool you really are."

He lifted the golden crown from the pedestal and brought it to rest on his forehead.


Art: 037/100 Themes - Eyes

"Okuli." Eyes. - 37/100 Themes.

This one is particularly brutal.


"When you cease to breathe, I will leave you here for your own carrion kind to eat." Sorian hacked red blood onto the ground and crawled over to his opponent. That blow to the head, at inhuman speed, left his ears ringing.

Rivek groaned. He couldn't see. With one hand, he rubbed the sand from his eyes. The other held the bleeding stab wound in his side. He kicked violently, a futile attempt to move backwards but, more importantly, keep Sorian from drawing any closer. Every movement stretched the muscles in his abdomen, delivering another strike of pain. He couldn't get up.

Sorian could not let him run away. Not again. Never again. He struggled to his knees and took a knife from his belt. Inches before Sorian reached his target, Rivek landed another strike to his face. Sorian's nose shattered, and blood flowed from his nostrils onto his chin. He howled and responded by grabbing his prey's flailing leg. Rivek instinctively reached for the his caught limb, moving the arm gripping his stomach. This gave Sorian the opening he required. With one forward strike, he drove his dagger through the mage's groin, carrying the strike just up to his sternum.

"Try changing now," he laughed, saliva running down his chin and blood pumped up from the gash. "Not as easy as before, I would believe. I hope you knew better than to think I would strike your heart. I have every intention of making this slow and painful, Ailinar."

Rivek writhed, freeing his leg and delivering two more hits to Sorian's chest with the heel of his boot, drawing more blood and spit from the prince's mouth. Howling in anger, Sorian threw his body forward and re-positioned himself squarely on top of the other man, away from his reaching legs. If it meant sitting in his entrails, so be it. He leaned over until his chest almost touched the tangled mass of intestine below him.

Rivek squinted, trying to see anything but red. He reached at Sorian's face and dug his nails into his cheek, drawing blood as they shifted into talons.

Sorian grabbed the offending wrist and pinned it to the ground. The transformation faded, leaving Rivek with human fingers again. Sorian placed his other dirty, bloody hand on Rivek's neck and tightened his grip to cut off any possible airway. He smiled as his victim gagged, blood coming up his crushed throat. It left little black rivulets as it dripped down Sorian's hands. He ignored the acid burn the same way he ignored the thinner man's desperate grasps at his arms, shoulders, and face.

Keeping his stronger, right hand on Rivek's throat, he moved his left to his face, to his eyes. He forced his eyelids open. The iris darted in mad, twitching saccades, looking for a way out.

"Gold eyes," Sorian muttered through the blood on his lips. "Truly like a dumb animal."

Rivek gathered the last bit of energy he had, the last bit of magic he possessed. He struck the arm that held open his eye, and he heard a satisfying snap as the elbow joint bent backwards. Sorian fell forward from his own weight, and Rivek struck him in the side of the mouth.

Enraged, Sorian sat up on his good arm. He spat a broken tooth into Rivek's face. His chest heaved with rage as he pulled the broken arm close to himself, cradling it with the other. Stupid, stupid, wild animal. Stupid. Disobedient dogs, of course, should be punished.

He plunged his fingers into the socket of Rivek's right eye. The bird-man arched his back, screaming and releasing another torrent of blood from his lips. He settled back down, taking little, shallow, breaths. Every movement sent massive, pulsing pan through his skull.

Sorian blinked. He held Rivek's eye, his thumb still in the socket, delicately encircled between his thumb and index finger. He laughed. And then he yanked it upward, severing the optic nerve with the strength of his pull. He stared at his trophy, turning it like a diamond.

"Beautiful. She always said your eyes were so beautiful. I suppose I am beginning to understand. However, as you surely must know already, a man of my station cannot have an incomplete collection."

Sorian took out the knife, Rivek still held by with the entire weight of his body. Physical trauma had set into the mage's flesh. Drained of blood, Rivek's skin was pale, almost grey. He let out a series of spasming coughs. All he knew was pain. Where he was, who was there with him, why he had gone to his own doom. He struggled to remember as his It was all beginning to fade.

"It would be in your best interest not to struggle," Sorian said. "I am sure that you can logically figure that the more you move, the less accurate I can be with this. And I would like my pretty, little jewels in tact."

He went in slowly this time, peeling back Rivek's left eyelid. He was inches away from his face. He could feel every ragged breath, every shudder. He grinned. He slipped the knife in under the tear duct, and slowly, meticulously, sawed away at the membrane, carving a perfect little circle around his prize. He chuckled as tears and blood ran, in an unbidden mechanical reaction, down the side of the other man's face.

Rivek remained still under his body. Sorian held the disembodied eyes in his palm. He watched as the magical colors faded. Gold. Green. Blue. Grey. Finally, they rested on a rich, inhuman, violet.

Sorian stood, crushing the soft orbs in his hand. The fluid ran, warm, down his wrist. His other arm hung limp as his side, and the acid blood had melted holes into his armor. This did not matter. After years, the hunt was over, and the dark-mage lay motionless at his feet.


Art: 36/100 Themes - Precious Treasure

"Treizor prezi." Precious Treasure. - 36/100 Themes. Most of Rivek's material possessions are simple, everyday things that can be easily replaced. Oddly enough, his most prized object is an easily-destroyed piece of paper that grants him one type of freedom for another.

Rivek looked at his reflection in the window. Shadows crept under his cheeks and circled around his eyes. He needed a haircut. He scratched his head. It hurt his hands more than it relieved his scalp. His fingers were still tender. The night before, they had cracked and bled while he bathed.

"Keep your wounds clean," Eamon had warned, tapping the cross-shaped scar on Rivek's cheek. "You have enough scars from infection."

King Auster coughed, bringing Rivek's attention back to the task at hand. He stared past the king's high-backed chair to Fenne, the prince standing behind it. Rivek looked down and subtly shook his head. He felt a small hand on his shoulder. Willow stood next to him, a slim but sturdy presence between him and the royal guard. A servant approached and lit a fat, milky-white candle on the table between the two parties.

Rivek wrung his hands, splitting the skin again. Stupid. But he still had nightmares. He woke up, gasping for air, trying to cough the taste of smoke out of his lungs. Just the thought of open flame made him sweat.

King Auster slipped a piece of parchment in front of him and looked at Willow with furrowed brows. Rivek didn't feel like actually reading it. He knew what it said - in much longer words than necessary. Give up your lies and become a slave. In exchange, you get to live.

The notary placed a quill and a shallow, silver dish onto the table. One of the guards shoved Rivek's chair closer.

"No need to be so rough, now. Not like I'm going to run away, am I?"

The soldier took Rivek's right hand and unwrapped the bandages on it, revealing raw, newly-healed skin. Willow had not done an amazing job, but no one else would have worked on him. The guard made a shallow slice it down the middle of his palm. Just enough to draw blood. Rivek winced as the black liquid dripped into the dish.

He picked up the quill with his left hand and dipped it in the makeshift ink. He signed his true name on the parchment, an Alisian name that was too long and meant too many things. Ailinar AIlinar Rivek Ildorus. The acid blood quickly faded to red but not before burning a few tiny holes in the paper where Rivek had pressed down too hard.

Willow followed suit, saturating the quill tip, which was quickly melting down, with his blood and dashing her name below his. She wrote quickly and left no holes in the paper.

King Auster nodded and melted a strip of red wax over the candle flame. He dabbed it next to the signatures and pressed his ring into it before adding his own name, again in blood. He turned to Willow, "He belongs to you now."

Willow grabbed the wrist on Rivek's bloodied hand. He bit his tongue, holding back the retort he had immediately thought up. She ran her finger in a zig-zag pattern across the cut, and it pulled itself together like a tightened dress seam. All that was left was a thin, red line which she quickly hid and she re-bandaged it.

Rivek raised his now mended hand. "Now, that I am no longer under the jurisdiction of His Majesty, King Auster, I have something I would like to say: You are a very, very, horrible person."


Art: 035/100 Themes - Hold My Hand

"Tenar ma manum." Hold My Hand. - 35/100 Themes. For the record, after he makes his smart-ass comment, he throws the knife at Sorian and transforms to get the hell out of there.


 "The most appropriate punishment for thieves is to remove that which they require for thieving," Sorian explained. He caressed the sharp edge of his axe with his gloved hand. Swords were for battle. Hatchets were better for more brutal, more intimate, encounters. He gave a low laugh. It had been quite some time since anyone had been foolish enough to attempt personal action against him. Today, luck had turned in his favor. His favorite weapon would finally get some use.

Rivek knelt in the snow. The only thing that separated him from his nemesis was the stump of an old pine tree, cleared long ago for the Heilmdoran to make permanent camp at the border. Too bad his mission didn't involve assassination. Then this closeness might have been more opportune. He spat at Sorian's word. A mixture of saliva and black blood landed at his feet.

Sorian grabbed Rivek's right elbow, slamming it to the surface of the former tree. The blow was so strong, Rivek's skin tore against the grain of the wood, leaving little spots of blood on the rings. Rivek flexed his fingers to make sure they still moved.

"So as you can see, the most fitting restitution for your crimes is your right hand." Sorian smiled politely as he ran the flat of the blade on the inside of Rivek's forearm, searching for the perfect position to cleave his victim's wrist joint. He lifted his axe into the air and grinned, baring his teeth.

"Money isn't a suitable payment for you, I take it?" Rivek prattled. Sorian's man-at-arms had his other arm pinned to his back, just inches away from his boot. The troops had been so eager to dole out punishment, they hadn't bothered to search him entirely. Worth a shot, but this would require a lot of speed.

Rivek tensed his shoulder and threw his entire weight into one downward reach toward his boot. The guard had only been concerned with pressing down to keep Rivek from lifting his arms, so the mage's hand slipped easily from his grasp. Rivek swiftly slid his hand forward along his shin until he found the handle of the blade. He drew it and grinned. In one smooth motion, he wrenched his body around, pivoting on the elbow Sorian still held. As he rolled onto his back, he delivered a cutting strike to the other soldier's face.

Free from the man's weight, he stood and threw off Sorian's arm. Rivek smiled, twirling the knife between his fingers, "Just my luck - I'm left-handed."


Art: 034/100 Themes - Stars

"Eztrelea." Stars. - 33/100 Themes.

Rivek is a shitty cook. He can eat most things raw, so there was really no incentive to learn how. Bohren pales in comparison as a hunter and is an ordinary human being, so he's always trying to cook whatever Rivek has caught before the hawk-boy has eaten it all (otherwise, he'd probably starve to death). It's more of a challenge than you'd think - Riv is one of those skinny, human, vacuum guys... who likes to eat his catch while it's still warm.


Bohren's stomach roared. It was dark now, but the stars in the night sky gave the two enough light to stay awake.

"Give me that," he said, wrenching half a dead rabbit from Rivek's bloodied hands. Its hindquarters had already been consumed, and the bones lay scattered on the ground. "You seem completely happy to just eat all of that and let me starve."

The hawk-mage licked his fingers and shrugged, "I killed it, didn't I? I mean, you didn't manage to hunt down anything for yourself."

Bohren set to work with a knife, peeling off the skin, so he could cook and eat what remained. The edges were ragged from Rivek's initial carnivorous frenzy, so the skinning process - which he was already pretty bad at - was even more difficult. Well, ingesting a little fur wouldn't hurt. He emptied the ribcage and threw the entrails on the ground.

"Hey! I could have eaten that."

"You already ate way more than your share." He yanked off the remaining skin and nodded to his pack. "Mind starting a fire?"

Hunting in the King's Woods meant some trees had been cleared to make paths. Rivek sat defiantly on a stump they had set up camp around. He had no intention of complying. "I'm not the one that needs to cook his food, am I?"

Bohren scoffed and set down the rabbit-half. He went into the bag, pulled out a flint, and began slowly growing a fire from their collection of tinder. Rivek shifted to the other side of the stump, away from the rising flame.

Bohren skewered his soon-to-be dinner on a stick and hung it over the crackling fire. He sat down on the same stump and elbowed Rivek in the side. "You're shivering."

"Me and fire - well, we aren't on good terms right now," Rivek laughed between the chattering of his teeth.

"Come on," Bohren said, throwing his arm around his friend's shoulders. "I have another way to keep you warm."

"Wait. What are you thinking?"

"What are you thinking?"

Rivek threw Bohren's arm off. "You're gross."

"Well, I don't know what you were thinking, but I was thinking I had an extra blanket in the tent."


Art: 033/100 Themes: Expectations

"Jusangion." Expectations. - 33/100 Themes.

Oh, the stupid things you have to do when you are royalty.


Willow loosened the collar on her dress. It had been so heavily starched, it left rings on her skin. Her neck was sweating. She clenched and flexed her fingers within the thick, formal gloves. Her palms were sweating. She scratched the small of her back. Some sweat there, too. Gross.

"Don't be nervous. It's just like we rehearsed," Fenne whispered.

Too bad that telling someone not to be nervous just makes them more nervous.

He took her hand. A fanfare of trumpets sounded beyond the gold curtains. "I present to you the future king and queen of the Brennan nation."

The pair stepped out to a room full of people in expensive dress, starched collars and white gloves everywhere. The clapped politely, softly with stiff elbows. Willow searched for a familiar face, but everyone seemed much older, both men and women reaching middle age. They held their lips tightly shut with regal formality. She looked closer and saw the wrinkles at the edges of their eyes and mouths that came with making too many court decisions, too many judgements.

She swallowed the lump in the throat and stole a quick glance at her partner. With the same grim formality, he took her waist in his arm, and they began to dance.


Art: 032/100 Themes - Night

"Niche." Night. - 32/100 Themes. Back at it. Just to show that Rivek actually can be kind of bad-ass and doesn't exist solely as my whipping boy. I want him to be a blend of strength and weakness, morality and amorality, human and animal.
Rivek held his dagger against the shivering man's throat. "Come on, now, did you really think I wouldn't notice?" 

The main flailed. Rivek tightened his grip on the other arm, digging his nails into the nerves of the wrist to keep his victim's sword hand wrenched to his back. He laughed.

"A shameful, black-blooded, outlaw rogue like myself wouldn't notice a man in a soldier's uniform following me out of a bar?" 

He pressed the blade in closer, but not enough to draw blood, just enough to keep his catch from moving. The man drew his head back, bringing his ear closer to Rivek's lips. 

He whispered, "What do they offer you? For bringing back the head of the dark mage, hm? Money for a new whore every night? Fame enough that people cheer every step you walk? Or, oh - I know - a way out of the army? I'd want that one, myself." 

The man grabbed Rivek's knife arm with his free hand, but Rivek just kneed him in the side. It was enough of a distraction that Rivek was able to push him up against a wall and pin both his arms. However, he had been a little careless with the blade, and a tiny rivulet of red was running down from his throat. 

Rivek licked his lips at the smell of iron. His stomach churned, but he knew this was not the place. "None of them is really worth it, if you ask me." 

"They offered me a good salary. And a way to reclaim what's ours from you border-thieving squatters. Unscrupulous squatters who'd dare hire heretics to protect their stolen land." 

"I threaten in jest," Rivek frowned, "I was planning on letting you go, but you have me slowly changing my mind." 

"I do it because your kind shouldn't exist." 

Rivek sighed, "You Heilmdorans. Always wanting more and talking about your high morals. I would have been more impressed if you'd said you simply desired a crop of farmland where you can have a pretty wife and two rosy-cheeked little girls." 

Rivek stepped backward, as if to let the man go. His hands dropped to his sides, and he immediately proceeded to wip the dirt off his uniform. The soldier rubbed his wrists, and Rivek caught a glimpse of metal in the man's palm. He stepped aside, as if to let him pass. 

As the man stepped in front of Rivek, he threw out his arm in a low swoop, knife aimed squarely at his abdomen. Rivek stepped back, so the momentum of the thrust carried the soldier forward. As he tripped, Rivek caught him by the collar of his cape and lifted him to his knees. 

"Sorry, mate. I'm afraid I can't let that one slide." With one swift motion, he slid the blade across the man's throat, releasing a gushing torrent of red blood.  "And here I was, simply trying to be a good sport and change your mind on that genocide thing." 

"No worries," he said. "I'll make it quick." He brought the knife down. The man's hands went to his open throat. Rivek had no difficulty finding the space between his ribs, and the plunged the blade through his back and into his heart. 

As much as he wished he could hold onto the body and absorb its last dying gasps of energy, he let it drop the the ground. Only a fool would continue to wander town with a shirt soaked in blood. He watched it spurt out like a dying hose, flowing freely from the fear-fueled heartbeat. His mouth watered. 

When the flow stopped, he knelt down and signed the Lady's Blessing with his left hand. He'd send the man to peace, but only on his terms. Alisian terms. 

His stomach rumbled again. After all, it had been quite a long time since he had eaten something like this. No one was looking. One taste wouldn't hurt. 

He licked the bloodied blade of his dagger, relishing the taste of iron and salt and energy. No sense letting a perfectly good kill go to waste.


Art: Little Red Riding Hood 01

It's my birthday today, so I'm posting a big, fat, complex artwork! (God, I'm turning so old!) This is double-page spread opening for "Little Red Riding Hood."

"Ethan Redd" is a story in Prince, a series of gender-bend princess stories. My goal is to maintain the same universal, cross-gender themes. This was particularly difficult in this case since sexual predation is male-dominated, and there is also no strongly marketed feature film from Disney using this story.

"Little Red Riding Hood" is a warning story about being too presumptuous at a young age, and falling unknown victim to the unknown dangers of adult world. Rather than just deliver groceries, our Redd is the son of an army captain and grandson of a famous war general. Longing to fill the footsteps of his forebears, he enlists in the army and is sent to deliver medicine to his ailing grandfather. Along the way, he meets a she-wolf, a foreign spy whose arsenal of weaponry includes her sexuality and whose mission is to eliminate the general.

However, rather than employ the (deus-ex-machina) rescue tactic of the woodsman, Redd uses his own intelligence to avoid certain death.

On another note, wolves are hard to draw.


Art: Character Relations and Outfit Guide for Mondigan

Every time I start a new sketchbook (roughly every six months or so), I draw Rivek in whatever is outfit design is at that point. it's a way of seeing how far I have come and how far I need to go. These are usually done in airports and on planes since I like having new sketchbooks for trips - and because the whole character centers around flight.

I did this waiting to take BUR -> OAK to see some college friends in San Fransisco. It has some stronger linework due to influence from Eric Canete. His costume uses more metal and doesn't have as dramatic sleeves anymore since I wanted to trim the silhouette into one that accents vertical lines (I know, because he's not a skinny whelp enough as it is). And his pose is not relaxed and he's got more of a smirk because I wanted something more excited about life this time around.


When I flew back home for a week in August, I lost my pencil case (including my signature stamp). So after flipping out, I bought some cheap pencils to draw with (HB, I am accustomed to 4B). But I still didn't want to do anything fancy, so I decided to try and draw portraits of my characters (a few I have never shown the public before, even!). The goal was to get them to look different but keep nationalities and family relationships similar. I need to draw smaller eyes.
Rivek is our socially-stigmatized main character who serves as the personal agent and doer of dirty work to the doctor-princess, Willow. She is as stubborn and bull-headed as she is hopeful. In order to gain an ally and stop a war, Willow is set to marry another prince, Fenne, but he re-negs on the engagement when she proves her feelings really lie with Rivek - costing him his ability to walk.

To take our his frustration, he banishes Rivek and hires Rivek's best friend, Bohren into his guard. Knowing they are now on opposite sides tears Bohren to pieces because he still needs to separate his feelings between friendship and homosexual romance. In exchange for a new pair of legs, Fenne allies with Sorian, the leader of the country invading Willow's territory. Together, they build war machines and commit genocide.
Eamon is Fenne's scientific advisor - who helped Willow with her doctor training back in school - is afraid that the princes will murder his daughter, Perrin. So the pair seek refugee status with Willow. She accepts, and Perrin develops a rapport with Rivek due to their interest in dark magic. Rivek looks over Eamon's notes and helps re-work them to use dark magic, thus giving their side an edge advantage.

But to using dark magic requires dark mages, so he seeks the help of his estranged sister, Mirab. She agrees if once the war is over, Willow and her congress stops the genocide against their people. Kai is her adopted son. His merchant father abandoned him when he began to show traces of dark magic.

There are more details, but I think that's enough for now. Those things in the corner are some dress silhouettes from the Alexander McQueen Exhibit. Everyone's name ends in an "n" sound.


This is an outfit design guide for the seven countries that make up the continent of Mondigan. It details stuff like climate, color scheme. All designs are based around a central tenet of the countries' value system - represented as a simple geometric shape that gets repeated in the outfit. Countries that are more similar in mindset use more similar shapes. Each also has a signature style item unique to that culture. Unity for the entire continent, though, should be derived from similar materials.


Expanding on that further, I went ahead and drew some male and female Alisian outfits. Alisians live in a strict, role-based meritocracy where rank is determined by what you have done and what your forefathers have done. Although there is a certain genetic phenotype common in Alisians (tall, thin, pale, non-red hair, angular skull, hooked nose), appearance, gender, and sexual orientation are not measures of a person's value. Especially if that person can wield a sword. An Alisian is self-defined by their devotion to their religion and having been raised in an Alisian culture.

Despite being a military culture, the central tenet of Alisian religion is "balance" of light and dark. All things in moderation. Therefore, their visual design symbol is a diamond - symmetrical on all sides but still highly dynamic. Given that Rivek and Mirab are half-Alisian and best represent the phenotype, I have drawn them in generic male and female Alisian clothing. The cuts are slightly different to exaggerate how the diamond form falls along each gender, but given that gender is not a defining trait of the individual, the overall design remains mostly the same.

The sleeves are tied to the main shirt body and often not used in summer. They can come in multiple lengths, mix and match for variety. However, it is important to note that - even in the dead of winter - sleeves and arm gear are not worn during religious ceremonies out of respect.

Alisians begin combat training as soon as they can walk, and young adults tend to venture to other countries to seek temporary work. So although much of the Alisian economy is self-sustaining on fish, sheep, and tough grains, they also receive a strong vein of outside income from steel and mercenary work. Unscrupulous, non-religious, private businessmen will usually hire an Alisian bodyguard (this is how Rivek's father and mother met). So, completely illogically, I drew Bohren in a tentative Alisian armor design... which I am not promptly scrapping. It is far too impractical. I also meant to draw Willow in Alisian priestess robes, but I got lazy.


Sometimes, I draw my characters in their skivvies. For the record, this is what they would wear to sleep.  Done in the lobby of =ProdigyBombay's ultra-cool workplace while I was waiting for her to hang out with me.


Art: 'Only Original Characters 2' Roleplay

I am playing an Alternate Universe version of my character, Rivek, in a roleplay on Gaia Online. The concept is that your character has died in their world and re-appeared in a new plane ruled by five warring factions. These Planesborn dislike Outsiders - the dead who have appeared in their afterlife - and each Faction has a different idea of what to do with them. They are all arguing but their overarching ruler, the Lady of Cerxes, instructs them to find the "perfect" Outsider to represent their case in court.

Rivek dies in his canon way. But his body is so badly damaged he has to make a deal with a one-eyed god from his Alisian religion. The god offers him a contract: if he helps Outsiders, then his scars will slowly heal up. But since the mind and soul cannot be tied to such a damaged form, they have to be tied to physical objects. He signs and loses the hawk-magic he has in canon. But instead, gains a sword (the physical talisman for his mind), a mask (the totem for his body), and a giant pair of wings (the token for his soul).

He cannot physically part with any of these items. However, if anyone were to grab hold of these talismans, that part of him would be at complete mercy to whoever picked it up. At times, he plucks out feathers from these wings and turns them into quills, to write smaller contracts with people.

The premise gives an interesting level of play - and character action is all about motivation. At his top level, he seems like a nonchalant, friendly fellow who drinks too much and causes too much trouble. But really he is scheming for the best way to get his form back. This is because he has an underlying fear that his current state is very weak, and he will no longer be human if he doesn't recover from his scars. However, he does not recognize that as his core, the humanity he seeks really will come from his actions.

And, since I am a judge and not a contest participant, I added a layer of complexity that my character does not know about: his amethyst-eyed god isn't a god at all. He is a Faction leader who knows morally questionable magics. Rivek is not the "perfect" Outsider, just a tool to find his Faction's representative (from among the contestants' characters). And in the end, he will have to face a choice and give up the body and humanity he's worked for here or let the Faction destroy the world he came from. Obviously, he's a hero, so you can guess what he'd do. ;)


He happens to be covered in burn scars. Also, somehow due to a severe lack of eligible male characters in this game, Rivek happens to be the most suitable bachelor. I drew this to ask the women of Serendipity, "You like this freak? Just what are you smoking now?!"

So I've drawn him in a more anime-appealing style, and well, he had a certain interaction with my friend's character, Laveris (you can read it all here). Well, he's a bit of a flirt, and she's a bit of a hedonist, ehehehe... 
A would-be tattoo design. Basically, he is a happy-go-lucky bartender who trades stories with people, trying to 'help' them out (usually in ways they don't think they want). But a particularly evil character, Devaena, finds out through some eavesdropping that he hast these three talismans. As evil folk are wont to do, she decides she has to have these items. Clearly, this is not something Rivek wants to happen.

So, he muses over the possible threat with Lurp, and she decides to shape-shift into a giant spider and attack Devaena. However, since Devaena is a Yugoloth in disguise, she uses her magic powers to trap Lurp in a sphere-spell.

Devaena goes off looking for more trouble, leaving the Lurp-sphere in her room at Dead Man's Meet, the inn where Rivek works as a bartender. She weaves a spell so no one can come into the room. Rivek... doesn't actually go into the room. He jimmies open the window and slips a wood ramp in, letting the sphere roll outside on its own. But since she weighs significantly more than he does, he grabs the window ledge as he falls, spreading his normally hidden wings to cushion himself. He hides Lurp in the kitchen and goes back to work.

This means Devaena is out to get him for good. So, after the sphere-spell wears out, he asks Lurp to shift into himself, so the pair can fake his death. It takes a few replicas of his talismans and a lot of tortute (death by a thousand cuts, anyone?), but the pair is successful. And bonus, Rivek manages to set Devaena on edge by alerting the Peace to her.

Now, he is hiding out, running opium between different dens.

Hence, 'dead men tell no tales.'

Rivek drinks gin and dances blues because he's secretly an old man from the Prohibition.


Art: Bust Commissions

Two awesome characters for Jayara. I like drawing characters of different ages. Man, though, does black hair take forever to shade!

I love these character designs with their big hair. The person who commissioned two wanted them singing karaoke together, haha. I didn't realize when I drew them that their backgrounds would match...


Art: ACEO Commissions

Some Artist Trading Cards from my commission stint. I love drawing girls. I'm happy I was able to fit so much of Duet onto the card and draw her awesome outfit. And I love Jeni's hair!

I haven't done watercolor in so long! I've almost forgot how.


Art: Jalil Sketch Commissions

I did four Livestream sketch commissions for Jalil. Ari and Devaena were really fun to draw because of all the details and challenge in the poses - and I certainly know Devaena is a challenge to RP against and survive. Hahah.

Sadye is a wearing a monk's robe that she stole and is trying to hide herself. Sena is a sadistic bitch who cut the wings off a dragon and sewed them to her back. Ew.


Art: Nadda Sketch Commissions

I love *Nadda because she is so sweet and always commissions me and has so many cool, diverse characters that really strengthen my ability to draw. I really tired to put in as much action and variety as I could. I try to use her commissions as a chance to grow as an artist.


Art: Chibi Commissions

Also part of my commission run, I did a few chibis. I don't do chibis often, but I think they're really fun. Here is one of Vash that my friend, Mibu, commissioned for his friend's birthday. I really love Vash - he is my favorite character archetype: the guy who is actually a real bad-ass but is very down-to-earth so he doesn't flaunt his powers like a dick. I guess, I like Wolfwood for the same reasons - just one is goofy and one is sarcastic.

I also did a set of chibis for Mesai of her characters.


Art: Sketch Commissions

I did a long run of sketch commissions over on deviantART to help raise money for a TV and couch for my sorely lacking living room. Lafe and Alex are are from a Gaia Online Pet Shop called Legend of the Tale, original concept and art by Cheshire. Her art was so inspirational for me when I was younger - and still is! I was so ecstatic when she drew my character once upon a time. These two characters were lovers in a past life, so the commissioner wanted Alex (a vampire) playfully going after Lafe's (the fox pooka) neck. I love the challenges couple pictures present.

Zac and Ever, two really cute characters! The commissioner wanted something playful. She gave me the most amazing reference art, too, by the lovely Shimoyo.

DarkenSpirit challenged me to draw the manliest man I have ever drawn. Garen from League of Legens by Riot Games. A. B. A. from Guilty Gear by Arc System Works.

Lurp is a shapeshifter who's also a lot of fun to RP with. Ah, I can't believe the reference art I was given was done by GlassShard. She is so good, by god. *o* The characters belong to TheLadyFox.

Piers is an American guy, and Ares is Native American. I hope I was able to capture their personalities and ethnicity correctly. This was fun to do. They belong to TsengEclipse.