Sketchbook: The Blackguard (visual story)
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    The Blackguard (visual story)

    The Blackguard
    Ballad and dark fantasy visual story, by Gordon Napier.
    (some nudity in scenes later on)
    (Comments and critiques welcome and appreciated)


    Maulric the ghastly Blackguard
    a man of bitter sin
    allied with ranks of demons
    and victory did win
    And of the knight Sikandor
    a captive did he make
    and now with that poor youth in chains
    he rode, his lands to take.

    Through wooded Lower Aratan
    Maulric the Black did ride
    to the castle he would conquer
    and the maid he'd make his bride.
    And his bound and beaten hostage
    was stricken with despair,
    for naught could he do to keep Maulric
    from Belarith, his sister fair.

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    2.

    A couple walked along the way
    close by, and arm in arm;
    They had weathered many dangers
    but emerged safe from harm.
    It was Odo, Knight of Esa,
    the gallant and the bold;
    And Asterith of Aratan
    she with the hair of gold.

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    3.

    They walked along the hollow,
    duly Odo did suggest
    That, as night was nigh upon them,
    they should find a place to rest.
    But Asterith urged that they go on,
    for three miles off at most
    was Nazmart the hall of Kaidard,
    a good Earl and gracious host;
    A friend of her master Arrizard
    sadly lost now from her sight.
    Said Odo 'call no man master
    for you are here queen by right!
    And Earl Kaidard owes you homage
    and should swear a vassal's oath.'
    'With a dukedom I'd reward him
    for a bed!' the damsel quoth.

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  4. #4
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    4.

    Asterith fell quiet and listened
    for she thought she'd heard a sound;
    'Cometh riders!', then she uttered,
    with her ear now to the ground.

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  5. #5
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    5.

    Fair Belarith of Nazmart
    stood on the parapet
    of her father's rugged fortress
    for her brother did she fret.
    The brave sons of the county
    he had led away to war
    to do battle with invaders
    and the outcome wasn't sure.

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  6. #6
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    6.

    In a reverie of worry
    she gazed into the night;
    When a hand from behind touched her
    and about she turned in fright...

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  7. #7
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    7.
    It was the Countess Charana
    wife of Kaidard, the good Earl.
    Of the lateness of the hour
    the lady informed the girl:
    'Now cease thy futile vigil
    and good-night go bid thy sire
    remind him of your affection
    then to bed let ye retire.'

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    8.

    In the hall of his ancestors,
    with their armour hung around,
    sat and brooded the earl Kaidard,
    and with him his faithful hound.
    His daughter came and touched his hand,
    both felt the same concern
    about her brother- and his son-
    and if he ever would return.

    Kaidard beheld his daughter
    with a look loving and fond;
    But even she could not lift him
    from his slough of despond.

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  9. #9
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    Very cool stuff I like the story behind all of it

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    Very nice art you have here. Your values are really good and I like the story you are portraying through your drawings.

    The only thing I would suggest is to work on your anatomy as your characters are quite stiff and the proportions seem a bit off.

    My Sketchbook: Criticisms and Feedback needed

    "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
    Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
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    9.

    Maulric met a Knight of Esa
    stood barring his way;
    'twixt feuding foes so bitter
    there was no need words to say.
    Aikon, the blackguard's squire
    now had a crossbow at the ready;
    Asterith likewise drew an arrow
    and her aim was sure and steady.

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    10.
    The dark horse charged forward,
    its great hooves they did pound,
    raising clouds of dirt and grit
    that swirled across the ground.
    Maulric bore down on Odo
    with a deadly, lowered lance;
    But Odo's sword parried as he
    withstood the brute's advance...

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    11.

    Sikandor, bound across his steed
    in sore humiliation
    could only lift his head to watch
    the fierce new confrontation.

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    12.

    Now in her chamber Belarith
    sat upright in her bed
    Her nurse Chutterbuck softly cooed
    to soothe her worried head.
    The Countess took her leave of them,
    bidding the girl 'sweet dreams',
    Belarith had a nagging sense
    that all was not as it seems.

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    13.
    To the Castle's oldest parts
    the Countess then traversed the floors,
    Pausing but to glance behind her
    she unlocked one of the doors...

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    Charana crossed the chamber
    in the bowells of Nazmart,
    where in secrecy she practiced
    her outlawed and occult art.
    A scrying bowl she had there
    held on silver serpents' wings
    her own blood she dropped in offering
    that she might see unknown things.
    'Deus ditis, sanguis
    vitaque me daris;
    Filii mihi ostenditio!'
    This enchantment she did hiss.

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    15
    The countess raised her arms aloft
    the life-essence she called
    forth from every baser creature
    that within the building crawled-
    Every bat within the attic,
    every rat between the floors,
    every moth and every spider
    had to yield up its life-force.
    She congealed them with her magic
    as she held her arms up high;
    and two shadows took on shapes
    as the rose up towards the sky.

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    16.

    A wild wind round' the towers wailed
    and then came two fell things
    with serpent necks and reptile tails
    and leather, flapping wings.
    Prykons- beasts born of witchcraft
    and they rose to the dark sky,
    bound to carry out the wishes
    of the witch who bade them fly.

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    17.


    Odo had hold of Maulric's lance,
    the grip he would not yield;
    though his foe tried to shake him of
    and beat down with his shield...

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    18.

    Adjacent on the trackway,
    as the two knights came to blows,
    Asterith and Aikon
    eyed each other o'er their bows.

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  23. #21
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    19.

    The lady Asterith held her fire,
    she sensed in him some virtue:
    'Kindly drop your bow, Good Squire,
    I do not want to hurt you!'

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  24. #22
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    The squire paid no heed
    and so Asterith's arrow flew
    It pierced the squire's hand
    it was the least harm she could do.
    Asterith ran forward, then
    to liberate Sikanor,
    not seeing the winged shaped
    descending from the sky behind her.

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  25. #23
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    21.

    Odo managed to bat away
    the shield from Maulric's hand
    A prykon banked upon the wing
    then swooped towards the land...

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  26. #24
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    22.
    The fell beast's head struck Odo's chest
    the wind went from his lungs
    he let go of the Blackguard's lance
    and backwards he was flung...

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  27. #25
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    Really nice drawings. Anatomy, as bish0p2004 mentioned, takes a long time to absorb (I have problems with anatomy all the time) so keep drawing .o) And don't forget about animal anatomy, even the fantasy ones.

    The style of this sketchbook (illustrated story) is quite unique and I really like it..

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    23.

    Fiercely the beast assailed him
    having knocked him off his balance;
    It was all that he could do
    to fend away its flailing talons.

    ---

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    24.

    Asterith reached Sikandor,
    her sword she swiftly drew
    to cut the rope that bound his wrists-
    But down the Prykon flew...

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    25.

    Sikandor and the wounded squire
    could only watch in awe
    as the second Prykon swooped down
    and snatched up Asterith in its jaw.

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    26

    Meanwhile the other monster
    was now floundering in its fight,
    and finding what it means
    to battle with an Esan Knight.
    Odo had it in his grasp
    his flashing sword at it he swung
    blood gushed from the gash he carved
    and back the beast was flung.

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    27 (Prykon Strikes)

    The prykon fell on Maulric
    horse and rider bit the dust
    pinned below a writhing wing-wyrm
    with a weight that could have crushed.
    Odo sprang up and drove his sword
    into the creature's chest
    Then he heard the cry of Asterith
    her voice beyond distressed.
    Dreading what sight he would see
    the hero turned his head
    as his lady-love was snatched up,
    and as Maulric's henchman fled.

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