Sympathy For The Devil 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 46 of Return To Manitou Island [link] and pictures the theme of "Breaking The Rules." The evil spirit Chakenapok is playing a game which involves the potential destruction of the Island, and Charmian suddenly comes up with the idea to beat him...with love!
GAWD this one drove me nuts!!
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 "Sport" and I already have an idea in mind.
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.

Charmian bit the inside of her mouth. "I'm not here to fight you," she said.

Chakenapok's amused look faded just slightly, and with a start she realized he had been telling the truth. "And so what do you call it now, coming all this way for nothing?" he said. "That will be even more tiresome, if you decide to simply stand there and let me do whatever I wish. It's hardly fitting behavior for a game."

"I'm not here for your stupid game, either!" Charmian flared.

Flames glowed in Chakenapok's hand and she sensed she'd finally gotten on his nerves. "Then perhaps you'd better come up with a reason to be here! Arriving without a plan is very poor form!"

She felt like slapping him or stomping on his foot--but trying to beat the crap out of Moon Wolf hadn't exactly snapped him out of his trance, so she doubted that would work here. Instead she chewed on the inside of her mouth until it hurt, then took a breath and let it out. "You can try to insult me or scare me all you want!" she said. "I know you're just bluffing, else you would've killed me by now!"

"Bluffing?" Chakenapok spat the word out as if it had a bad taste to it, and the flames flared even brighter in his hand.

"I know all about you," Charmian added. "I know where you came from, and what happened when you were born. I know how you got hold of Moon Wolf, and why you want to play this game. I know how you hate Nokomis, and why you want this revenge. I know because I hate what she did to you, too."

The flames still dancing in Chakenapok's open hand faltered somewhat, and the furious look on his face changed to one of mixed anger and confusion. "You claim to know what I feel?" he snapped.

Charmian nodded and took a step toward him. "I know because everybody's felt it at some point. You're hardly the only one. Everybody's been hurt and has wanted some kind of revenge. And you know what? I can't blame you. I don't think you knew what you were doing when you were that little. I don't think you intended to kill your mother. I don't think you meant for any of that to happen at all."

The fire died completely now and Chakenapok lowered his hand. He took a step back, away from her, and continued doing so as she moved toward him. "What is this you're getting at?" he grated in a harsh voice. "This is not a part of the game!"

"There isn't any game," Charmian said. "You made that up to justify getting back at Nokomis, remember? For what she did? But it doesn't matter if you get back at her or not. You're already dead."

Chakenapok bared his teeth. "You're not playing by the rules!"

"There aren't any." Charmian stepped toward him again. He backed against the wall and stopped there, though the way his fingers grasped at the rock behind him made it clear he wished to go right through it. "You made them all up, and that's all they are, is made up. What happened to you is real, and that's why it hurts so much. You're not the only one who's ever felt like that. Other people hurt, too. They hurt all the time." She held out her hand, and he looked at it as if it were a spitting viper. "I won't tell you to stop hurting, Chakenapok, because I know you feel like everyone's betrayed you. You were just a baby back then. People didn't mean to hate you, they just didn't understand." She nearly trailed off when he started letting out a strange noise--it took her a moment to realize it was growling--but pressed on. "You haven't given them any reason to understand, either. But I know you can fix that. Just try to forget your game--just for a minute. People will understand you better, if you talk, instead of playing some game."

Chakenapok dug his fingers into the rock so hard that it chipped. "Stop breaking the rules!" he snarled.

"I'm not the one breaking them. You have to break them. That's the only way you can ever stop feeling like this!" She moved closer, still holding out her hand; he hissed and pressed himself flat to the wall. "I know it hurts," she said, as if taking him into confidence. "It feels like your heart's being sucked right out of your chest sometimes. And you want to make everybody else pay, and play by your rules. And that'll make you feel better for a while, but it'll never get rid of that feeling. When the game's over, you'll still be hurting. It doesn't do anything." She offered him a smile and he bared his teeth, though she thought she saw fear enter his eyes--the same look a confused child might have. "Just forget about the game for a minute. Stop hiding behind all this. I know you're not really like this. You might think everybody hates you, but they don't. Most of them are just afraid of you."

Chakenapok drew himself upright and pushed himself away from the wall. He almost seemed to grow in size, his eyes flaring brilliant yellow so that she had to squint to avoid the glare. "THEY HAD BEST BE AFRAID!" he bellowed, his voice echoing off the walls, and flames leapt up all around him. Charmian nearly drew back to escape them, but made herself stand where she was, wincing at the bite of heat but ignoring it. She couldn't hold her smile, as his sudden change in appearance unnerved her; yet she bit back a cry of fear and instead held out her hands again.

"I'm not afraid!" she had to yell over the noise of the fire, and when he gave her a brief gawking look of disbelief, she shouted it again. "I'M NOT AFRAID OF YOU!"

Chakenapok's eyes goggled. Charmian seized her chance and ran at him, straight through the flames, and before he could recover himself she threw her arms around him, pressing herself as close as she could. Abruptly the flames all shrank back from the two of them and Charmian thought, He's warm. Not hot. Just--warm.

There was a brief second of silence, then she felt every muscle in his body tense, and he gripped her arms, digging his fingers in so she grimaced. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" he screamed, the sound hurting her ears, but she just clung to him even more tightly.

"I'm not afraid of you!" she shouted back. "I'm sorry for what Nokomis did to you! I'm sorry you're hurting!"

"WHAT?" She felt his fingers gouge into her now and heard him hiss in rage. "LET GO OF ME, YOU LITTLE FOOL!!"

"I'm sorry everyone's so afraid of you!" Charmian fought down her fear as best she could when Chakenapok snarled and let go of one arm, flailing his own in the air to call the flames forward again. She felt their heat surrounding them, and though he didn't react to them at all, they stung her skin, bringing tears to her eyes. She started shaking, some more basic part of her brain telling her to go running for safety, yet she struggled against it and kept holding on. The flames practically danced over her by now; she didn't know how she didn't start screaming in pain, yet she stayed where she was.

"I'm sorry you've been alone all this time!" she cried. "I'm sorry so many people hate you!"

"If you don't let go of me I'll MAKE you let go!" Chakenapok screamed.

"I'm sorry your spirit's so dark!" Charmian yelled so loudly that her voice cracked. The flames pressed in even closer. "I don't hate you! I'm not afraid of you! I'm sorry!"

Chakenapok didn't even justify her with a retort this time, merely shrieking and hurling both hands upward. The fire roared and engulfed them completely. Charmian opened her mouth to scream in pain, but instead words came out--"I'M SORRY!!"--and instead of the searing agony of the fire, she felt a sudden pressure in her chest. Her eyes flew open and she saw the by-now familiar bolt of light shoot out and strike Chakenapok in the heart. The force of the blast made her let go of him, and she nearly fell over backwards. She blinked and pushed herself up, looking around in confusion. The fire had completely vanished--had it ever really been there at all? Now that she looked at her arms and clothing, she couldn't see any trace of a burn, anywhere. Had it all been an illusion--?

That's right! This is a dream! He CAN'T hurt me!

His screaming was what drew her attention next, and she turned to stare at him in awe as the beam of light revealed his spirit stone--she blinked again in surprise to see that it looked much like her own, flaring orangish-red, except that it was spiked all over with ugly tendrils of black. Chakenapok's scream grew even louder as the beam began to surround him with its light, and Charmian started to scramble for safety, ducking behind a stalagmite while still watching the process. Trying to stop it wouldn't do any good. All she could do was stare, and wonder if it really did hurt as badly as his screaming made it seem. She saw the blackness start to shrink back from the spirit stone, and covered her ears, waiting for the final blast.

Only--something else happened, instead.

Chakenapok and Nokomis are from Ojibwa mythology. Charmian and Moon Wolf are © Tehuti.
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