Rose Valkyrie Picture

This is my 'customization' entry to for the Lightning Returns: FFXIII contest! I'm not a procrastinator... I work at a snail's pace... that's all... I haven't felt so incredibly motivated to draw something really nice for a long time, and I can't explain how excited I was to see this contest announced. A lot of time, effort, and love went into making this, and there's a lot of tough competition, so win or not, this piece will still be my biggest milestone in art thus far. I just so happened to be out of school for a week so I could put all my effort into my entry ^u^ There are still a few parts I want to make neater if time permits.

The "Rose Valkyrie" concept
The idea came to me while looking for inspiration by reading about Odin in Norse mythology. I wanted to base the design from Odin since I was always fond of the unique relationship between the characters and the eidolons inside them. I found this description rather suited for Lightning:
"The souls of women warriors, and those strong and beautiful women whom Odin favored, became Valkyries, who gather the souls of warriors fallen in battle." (source:Wikepedia)
I designed this customization with the name of Claire Farron in mind instead of Lightning, because I wanted to show a softer, more feminine side to her. The overall feel of the costume comes from the Dead Dunes of LRFFXIII. However, to retain her image I incorporated some of her trademark elements of her clothing from the previous two games, like the slight asymmetry in the design, the distinctive red cape and dark arm sleeve from FFXIII, and the feathers and darker fantasy elements from FFXIII-2. The fern-like design on her body piece was actually inspired by some photos I saw of scars left on the skin of people who were struck by lightning.
I used a white rose instead of her pink one like her crystal, as white roses are used for new beginnings, honor, and remembrance, suitable for her new role in LR:FFXIII and the new world about to form. Since Odin in the myths used a spear weapon, I decided to have her wield one as well. It is double-edged (although not completely visible here) to represent how her previous life as a L'Cie and now savior is like a double-edged sword: although she is gifted with the great power to save many, she had to face the doomed fate of a L'Cie before, and now bears a large burden of the souls remaining in the world on her shoulders. It can be used as a spear or as a staff when together one piece. It also breaks in half, similar to Fang and Noel's weapons, for a more powerful offense because, well... a dual-wielding Lightning would be kickass to see in action.

Mr. Nomura has led to my biggest inspirations and Lightning is my artistic muse; I felt so happy finally getting the chance to draw her again~<3 I spent my free week from school drawing this instead of actually playing the game haha;;; So I still haven't played it yet but will once I get the chance! sorry i basically wrote an essay hahh...
Here's the full body and weapon concept sketch:
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