Progress 3 Picture

I think this is the right category?

NOTE: if anyone knows what the painting in the background is, I'd be much obliged. It was traced from an art book of some sort back in the days and I have no idea what it's supposed to be.

Here's a tradition I'd almost forgotten about!
I started with this picture about a year ago. No idea when I made the lineart, but I'd planned to finish it by New Years Eve. I never did. So the jolly season rolled up again and I decided to try and finish it, using the knowledge on color balancing and texturing I'd attained in the intervening months.
Unlike with my previous progress images I did not try to update this piece in a similar creative platform. My confidence in my traditional art skills is lacking and anyway drows are a pain to render with colored pencils (it's the white eyelashes I reckon). I am moderately happy with the outcome - it definitely captures the intended bodylanguage and emotion more than the original, though some people have commented on the composition appearing stale. At least the furniture makes sense now. No kid-sized beds and apples the size of eyeballs! No eyes in the middle of foreheads either!

To be honest I had a good excuse for drawing like this back then. The original was done before I entered art school - I know that because I distinctly remember having it inside my portfolio when I went to apply there and trying to talk the principal to death with stories of my characters.

I tried to update the composition and clothes designs, whilst still staying true to the color scheme and general FEEL of the outfits. Thus Horos's villain-pauldrons transformed into a part of his overcoat, the cravat kept it's yellow button, Seth still pairs christmas green with purple and in a generalized sense I tried to make it so that they both still have the same components to their design.

Warning: Nostalgia and monologues imminent!

These two are Seth and Horos, the last male descendants of the Ihhario bloodline and characters from a story I made in my teenage years called "Hunt-Haldjas"/"Wolf-Elf".

The Wolf-Elf universe holds a special place in my heart - one that is impossible to explain to outsiders, because it lacks all originality. But it spanned the course of three stories - "Wolf Elf", "Wolf Elf - Sosen Geraude" and "The Decisions of The Deities" written from roughly 2006 to 2009, also spawning one prolific roleplay character (*ahem* Nepthys) and two campaign attempts set in the same world. I was proud of it. Not of the specifics, but of how the world WIDENED with my own growing knowledge base.

Wolf-Elf and the characters therein were born from a simple desire - to write of villainy. The thought struck me when I was about 13. A need to try and capture evil in writing. Thus I decided to write a story about an evil drow demonologist named Seth who lives all alone in a gloomy castle in the middle of the forest and finds a little elf child in the woods, taking her as his apprentice and corrupting her.
Then I started writing and suddenly the eeeeeevil drow demonologist was merely eccentric, quite relatable, his relationship with the girl falling somewhere between that of a teacher and a stepfather. The actual conflict of the story became the girl's attempts to learn what powers demonology and how to save her caretaker from succumbing to dark magic.
And that fascinated me. How the story took on it's own life.
And how the world evolved.
I rarely rewrote portions of the story - in fact I can only recall three exceptions. I changed Horos's name around a few times, because in a surprising pout of subtlety I thought that it was too recognizable, removed mentions of dwarves and goblins once the racial makeup of the settings became clear to me and (when I was no longer a goth-wannabe 13-yearold) reworked the demonic rituals to remove the hints of casual satanism. What that means is that once I introduced a concept to the story - such as an evil demonologist living alone in a gloomy castle in the middle of a forest - it was there to stay and it became a pleasant challenge to find workarounds to the bits that experience showed not to hold water.

By the end of the original "Wolf-Elf" story the whole world consisted of Ihhario Castle, the surrounding forests, a glimpse of the demon-realm and the mountaintown of Kentra.

The sequel was fueled by two things - to flesh out the universe and to give "catching evil on paper" another try, this time with an actual villain. It fleshed out the historical role of drows and humans, the Elvish Court which had ruled over mortals for most of recorded history, the geography of the lands such as The Northern Mountains and the capital of Kandli, the mythology of various races, the legends of giants, The Cult of The Ancestors and - most importantly of all - explained as well as I could HOW a drow nobleman versed in demonology had ended up alone in a gloomy castle in the middle of a forest. And the villain...was Horos. A political manipulator with no love nor family ties, who'se lust for power transcended taboos. It was never finished, but I knew what was to happen in it, drawing plenty of images of planned scenes. The one above was one of such images.

"The Decisions of the Deities" holds up pretty well to me even nowadays. It was discontinued due to a lack of motives. It had essentially taken place during fantasy stone-age, before the Ihhario bloodline or the kingdoms, when the elves had only recently started smithing metal, humans were generally hunter-gatherers and drows lonesome oportunistic scavengers waiting for their break in the world. It was a strange story and occasionally rather pretentious, but like the Wolf-Elf sequel it, too, was rather well planned in a sense. I knew what was supposed to happen and how it was supposed to end, but it was just too difficult to move characters from one place to another if they had no living relatives, no money nor prospect for power - no motive besides survival (and the motive of survival dictated they go anywhere else but where the plot tells them to go). But essentially I wrote it to flesh out how drows got the societal role that they had in the Wolf-Elf stories, to further explore the old religions of that world and to find out how black magic and the demon language had fallen into the hands of mortals. And it contained ideas I still genuinely like. It, too, was in a sense written to "catch evil on paper", this time using an ancient god and a narcissistic she-drow.

All in all the first story set up the characters, as seen through the eyes of my 13-year old self.
The second story set up the world without vetoing much of the first story, instead seeking ways around to make my older inventions sound less moronic.
The third story set up the mythology and history, the sources of magic and the time when gods walked the earth.

And I love to observe that progression, from a castle in the woods to a whole (generic) fantasy world with it's own myths and history.
And I loved Seth. I have never cared much for his elven step-child - she had no personality, but Seth was always fun to draw and write. The "evil drow demonologist hurrdurr" was by far the most layd-back of his siblings - what with Horos's antics to kill the king and make the prince a puppet ruler and Nepthys running off with the family heirlooms to "rule the world or whatever". Compared to their antics Seth's shutting himself off from the world and spending years in the family dwelling studying demons is outright tame, although admittably unhealthy.
And I loved Horos. My first proper villain with proper motives, even though my understandings of court politics were rather iffy back then so he might've been less of a magnificent political bastard and more a suicidal one without my realization.
And I still love Nepthys, mainly because unlike her brothers I've never written her into any stories instead opting for roleplays. She and her Vampwand, off to save enslave the world!

I know that I made the original of this image before I started writing the sequel. I knew that Seth and Horos do not get along well and that Horos is a backstabbing bastard. So I drew this, planning to put a poisoning scene into the story at the time. The plot took a different turn and this never happened, but nonetheless it catches the relationship between these two pretty well - one of mutual manipulative disrespect with Horos feeling no affection for his sibling and considering himself above Seth on account of being older.

The Ihhario brothers © Cliodna (me)

2007 version: Colored pencils and HB pencils.

2014 version: Sketched in HB pencils colored in Photoshop CS6: Brother Dearest (click for a bigger view)

The other "Progress" images (from way back in 2010):

Progress 1 (the making of Cliodna):…

Progress 2 (the making of Atra):…

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