A Handful Of Soil WIP Picture

PLEASE comment if you fave! I worked hard on this.
All right, I'm going to try to take part in the 100 Picture Challenge, or whatever it's called here. Basically, you draw one picture each for one of 100 themes. I just started learning how to draw human faces about two months ago. I was going to hold off on entering the challenge until I'd gotten bodily postures down better, but figured that if I waited that long I'd never get anywhere. So I know I still need a lot of work. Maybe doing this challenge will help me improve, maybe not. I like to hope that maybe someday I'll be able to redo this picture and it'll look a whole lot better. For now though, it's much better than what I could have done a couple of months ago.
This illustrates a scene from Part 1 of Escape From Manitou Island [link] and pictures the theme of "Creation." Not much explanation for this one, as this is merely the first scene which sets up the rest of the story, and this scene is my own retelling of the Ojibwa flood and creation myth. Enjoy!

Geezhigo-Quae's face looks a little funny to me, but, eh...
This is just the inked sketch. I cropped off a bit of the background for now. I'm planning on filling it all in with colored pencil, as that's the only medium I have, that and a photo program which mangles my pictures when I resize and try to up the saturation a bit.
Anyway...the next theme I believe is "Childhood" and I already have it inked in.
This will be scrapped later on when I upload the finished version. Just wanted to put this in my gallery to brag a bit.
Criticism not desired as I already know all the flaws this has, thank you very much.

Long ago, before even the moon was within the sky to count off the months, Gitchi Manitou, the Great Spirit, arose and created upon the waters an island, that all of his creations might have a place to rest and to build their homes upon, an escape from the dark waters which enclosed it on all sides. Upon this island was placed every manner of animal, from the great moose and bear down to the smallest mouse and sparrow, as well as other creatures, stranger creatures...the Wendigo giants, with their long limbs and hearts of ice and their implacable thirst for blood...the Maemaegawaese, Mizauwabeekum, and Pukwudjininees, or the small people who lived within the earth and trees...the Nebanaubae, or those people who lived within the water and swam like the fish...and the manitous, some animallike in appearance, others more human, each of them with their own powers over the wind and the earth and the fire and the water. In time, Geezhigo-Quae, the Sky Mother, descended to set foot upon this Island, blessing it with her presence and taking it over as Gitchi Manitou retired from his creation forever. Geezhigo-Quae loved this Island dearly, and held it near to her heart as if it were her own.

Outside of and beyond this Island, however, there lurked other creatures, among them the Mishupishus, or the great Underwater Lynxes who forever dwelled within the dark waters surrounding the land. These creatures, with darkness in their hearts, envied the happiness of all those who lived upon the earth, but they were not strong enough to sate their anger, and so were forced to bide their time patiently, always waiting just off the shore. Within the sky lived the Animiki, or the Thunderbirds, and it became their duty to watch over the Mishupishus, hurling lightning at them whenever they attempted to threaten the Island; and in this way the land was protected from those who might hurt it, and all upon it flourished under the watchful eye of the Sky Mother.

Among the powerful manitous was one known as Megissogwun, the Pearl Feather, who was known for his pride and cruelty, for even the manitous are not perfect beings; as such, when he approached the Sky Mother and demanded that he be allowed to take her as his wife, his demand was rejected, and he was told to leave her presence, for it was not meant that the Sky Mother should be aligned with a manitou whose heart was so dark and whose spirit was so cruel. Megissogwun, however, was not one to take refusal so easily; and he quit the Sky Mother's presence, vowing to take his revenge upon that which she held most dear.

All knew of Megissogwun's great power, yet none knew of the influence he wielded among the other creatures who envied the Island its beauty and peace; thus all were caught offguard, when a great army of the Mishupishus attacked as one, besieging the Island and roiling up the waters so that they splashed over its shores and up the sides of its hills. The Thunderbirds hurled their lightning to no avail, as none had ever seen the Lynxes act in such swift, organized concert, nor with such deadly intent. All creatures of the Island sought safety, yet many were killed in the great flood which overtook all the land; Geezhigo-Quae was spared when a great turtle offered its back for her to ride upon, and all she could do was watch as Gitchi Manitou's creation was destroyed, the last of the land sinking rapidly beneath the waves. From not far away, they were watched. The Pearl Feather had gotten his revenge.

Still, the Sky Mother was not one to let the whole of the Great Spirit's creation be obliterated so easily, and she quickly devised a plan whereby the Island might be born again. Enlisting the aid of the surviving animals of the Island, she sent down one after another, deep below the waves, to seek out a bit of soil to return to the surface. The beaver dove as deeply as he could, yet the water was too deep, and he was drowned. The otter attempted the swim, and proceeded even deeper than the beaver, but he too succumbed to his exhaustion long before he could reach the bottom. Out of all the animals, at last it was the lowly muskrat which made the dive, struggling to the very bottom and back up again, before all the life fled his body and he floated to the surface. The Sky Mother rescued him from the waves, and retrieved from his clenched claws the tiny bit of soil which he had managed to scrape from the hill of the submerged Island. She revived the drowned animals, and with this tiny bit of soil, placed upon the great turtle's back, she began the creation of a second Island, to replace that which had been lost.

It was known that the Pearl Feather could not be allowed to remain free, as he could just as easily return to destroy this second creation; and so out were sent the Four Winds, to seek him and subdue him before he might call upon his army of Mishupishus yet again. Shawondassee, the South Wind, fought him, but it was to no avail; Wabun, the East Wind, sparred with him, but Megissogwun was far more powerful. He nearly fell before the freezing blustering might of Kabebonikka, the North Wind, yet even he could not defeat the Pearl Feather. At last, Kabeyun, the fierce West Wind, took on the dark manitou and managed to subdue him. The Pearl Feather was defeated, and the safety of the new Island was ensured, and Geezhigo-Quae proceeded with her creation.

The second Island was created in the image of the first, yet of course, it was not exactly the same. Gone were the giant Wendigoes, as their power had been too great for the Island to withstand; the smaller, weaker GeeBees and Windwalkers took their place. The Mishupishus retreated further away into the great lakes, and the Thunderbirds retreated higher away among the clouds. The manitous and Nebanaubae and little people were joined by the Michinimakinong, the children of Geezhigo-Quae, who had taken their name from the Great Turtle who protected their mother and offered her shelter in her time of need, and whose back became this new Island; into their hands was entrusted this second Island, so that it would always be safe. And in time came the wolf demons, they who were known as the Ocryxes...and even later than this, there came those strangest beings of all, known to everyone as humans...

In time, the numbers of the humans upon the Island began to grow, so that the Michinimakinong, the protectors of the Island, could no longer live in secrecy; they sought out these strange newcomers, and offered their hands in friendship. They were greeted cruelly, however, as these humans, lost from the land of their birth, were afraid of the strangers, and met their offers of friendship with violence; at last, Geezhigo-Quae opened the Fairy Arch, the gateway to her own land, and it was through here that all of the Michinimakinong fled, and the gateway was sealed, and the Island was left to the humans, the GeeBees, the Ocryxes, and the manitous.

After yet more time had passed, another stranger came among the Islanders, one who did not look as they did, but whose skin was pale and whose eyes were the color of the lake; there were others like him, and not like him, who were to follow, but this could not have been known at the time. At last, however, knowledge of the strange Island reached the outside world, for better or for worse; and it was this stranger who first gave the name that the Island was to hold for the rest of its days. In the tongue of the Islanders, it had always been known as Manitou Miniss, the Island of the Spirits...but to those who came to see it afterwards, it would ever after be known as L'Ile Des Manitous...Manitou Island...

Everybody in this farkin' scene is from Ojibwa mythology! (Except the Ocryxes, who are the property of Mackinac Island's Haunted Theater.)
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