Welcome to my character portrait gallery

For anyone who is wondering, Wednesday became 'black Wednesday' for me because I cannot draw mid-week!
In fact I'm sure the rainforests mourn Wednesday too by the amount of paper I tear through in frustration... so this is a blog for all who know what like it is to regularly shout at their pencils
Oh yes it's also all about fictional characters plus interviews with them, yeah, that too :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nenigin Oakwood

At 15 years of age and 4ft 11in tall Nenigin Oakwood features amongst the youngest and shortest interviewees we’ve had on the island.  Being shockingly blue with small antennae and huge wings it doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out that Nenigin is an insectoid anthropomorph. Perhaps less instantly obvious when meeting him is that he is of the damselfly variety. Not only that but he is younger brother to the luridly red Naiad, though why the two are vastly different eye-popping colours isn’t exactly clear. Sadly, as he informs us from the outset, they are the last survivors of Oakwood lineage and whilst they once worked together, he hasn’t seen his sister in many years.

Perhaps the most interesting point that isn’t visually apparent is that the Oakwood’s have Welkin ancestry, which makes Nenigin and Nai two of the rare few anthropomorphs who are also part-Fae.

Being part-Welkin undoubtedly has its advantages, particularly for one born as an insect anthropomorph. Needless for us to tell you that all Fae are born with a natural instinct for levitation, and thus can ‘fly’ from an early age and never have to learn the skill unlike the rest of us. However due to the two species opposing expected life spans, Nenigin is a fully-fledged adult in damselfly terms but merely an infant amongst the Fae.

So which is he? We ask in spurious excitement and intrigue because like yourselves we find discussing ancestry and genealogy with a fifteen year old about as fascinating as dishwater.
His grinning inconclusive response is, ‘well, I just have to wait and see.’ Obviously the possibility that he might drop dead in a couple of years either hasn’t occurred to or doesn’t bother Nenigin in the slightest, or maybe it just adds to the flavour of thrills he seeks on a daily basis. 

We’d like to say it saddens us to know that in a few short years his face might shrivel like a dried-up blueberry but having a perverse sense of humour we actually find it rather amusing. This might also be because regardless of the fact he is an adult amongst the damselfly we deem him as an irritating teenager, a boy full of na├»ve idealisms, endless energy and all those grandiose half-baked ideas about life that we swear we never possessed.

That said Nenigin is, in fairness, a gentle soul at heart, an easy-going lad who takes things in his stride and each day as it comes. He is thoughtful, considerate and has quite a measured personality for one so young. He is also the highly active type and tells us he likes extreme sports, magic and challenges but dislikes puzzles, ‘hatred’ and is strongly against war.

Being part-Fae means he found it relatively easy to learn magic and has progressed quickly in his chosen discipline. An intrepid thrill-seeker Nenigin tells us he chose to specialise in elemental magic with his focus being on fire in order to accumulate an array of impressive tricks such as fire breathing and juggling.  Although we assume he doesn’t literally mean ‘being on fire’ because to our knowledge insects aren’t particularly resilient to flames let alone flamethrowers.

Less of a surprise then that to learn that the Oakwood family have long been circus performers touring the globe with a troupe of amazing oddities called ‘Rynjik.’ This name translates quite literally as ‘mind force,’ which we hasten to add sounds mightily less impressive in translation but still succeeds in having a half-hearted jab at making a pun out of the word ‘force.’ The Rynjik troupe specialises in performers who possess unusual talents for their species, a weird and wonderful collective of potentially powerful individuals ready to ‘contort, contrive, disturb and surprise,’ all whilst dangling over pointy objects from perilous heights or submerged in the ‘agrusanc,’ which considering it means, ‘terror water,’ doesn’t actually sound or look all that terrifying. Prepare to be, ‘disturbed and amazed,’ the flyer tells us, however the only thing we find truly amazing is that the troupe has been at large for over a century.

Nenigin joyfully expresses how all of Rynjik’s employees are considered family even those who are not directly related and sings praise on how most of them have travelled together their entire lives. He tells us he was lucky enough to have been born into the troupe and that their way of life is simply ‘vaitsche.’

Which brings us nicely to our main point of contention because the most grating thing about Nenigin it that he seems to know only four adjectives; one is the Ordic word ‘trepid,’ whilst the other three stem from the Aftlands second major language of Mythic and Neni uses precisely none of them in the correct context.

Now we here at Black Wednesday’s aren’t renowned for being too strict when it comes to correct word usage but the Aftlands only have two spoken languages for good reason and bastardising the lesser-known of the two is even less endearing than corrupting the first.

Call it teenage colloquialism if you will but it becomes increasingly infuriating to hear him describe literally everything be it good or bad, as ‘trepid,’ (fearful) ‘vaitsche,’ (harsh), ‘vasche,’ (nasty) and ‘mhiern,’ (set). He explains that he means ‘nasty’ in a good way, like calling a challenge ‘brutal’ or ‘excellent’ and that he thinks, ‘harsh’ is a good substitute for ‘awesome.’ The word ‘set’ he simply litters in between everything else apparently to emphasise how ‘great’ or ‘cool,’ things are, or whenever he is lacking a descriptor. He also seems to use ‘trepid’ in place of the word ‘difficult’ which sounds to us like a deliberate waste of his brainpower and a good way to confuse people.

Or maybe we here at the studio are just old and aren’t ‘mhiern’ enough, or maybe calling us too ‘mhiern’ would be more appropriate, as in, ‘set in our ways.’ Nenigin doesn’t find our turnaround or teasing of his slang amusing. He defends the misappropriation as something everyone in the troupe does because they all, ‘have quirks,’ and they are, yeah you guessed it, ‘really mhiern, you know?’ No Neni we don’t know, but we guess by that he means that they are good, solid and reliable people.

Still if there’s one thing Nenigin feverishly describes as ‘vasche’ it’s putting on a show with Rynjik. He tells us he is happiest when pulling off a new stunt or particularly difficult trick for the audience, or in his words, ‘it’s vasche when I pull off a new one, I mean really vaitsche like and we’re all down there and it just happens, really trepid, like mhiern, really vasche to be in that moment you know?’

No, we don’t, stop asking. And for the love of Luk learn to speak.

Thankfully Nenigin’s role in the circus is a silent one because rest assured, if any of us even so much as hear the words ‘vaitsche,’ ‘vash,’ or ‘mhiern,’ misused near us in the next week, we shall set about doing something harsh and nasty to whoever dares utter them.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Erynai DeVagrant

This week we have the pleasure of interviewing Dirzryn's second eldest brother Erynai DeVagrant. Both of the older brothers were understandably reluctant in coming forward to be interviewed especially considering the fact we automatically dub them ‘Dirzryn’s brothers’ as opposed to sons of the late Dachlyn. 

The poverty-stricken family is after all only famed due to Dirzryn’s ill-favoured birth and rise to power. By all accounts it is thought that Dachlyn’s already lowly name was tarnished from the grave because his wife, Azenai, chose not to abort this fourth child, a boy he didn’t even know existed prior to his passing. Incidentally the entire family should then have been branded with the red mark for such a slur and stripped of their initialled prefix as with criminals. However in this instance the jury was lenient and took pity on the plight of a woman who loved her husband so dearly she could not bear to lose his final son. Siding with Azenai’s plea the courts chose to leave the family name in place and educate Dirzryn to be of better use to society. It was agreed that in this rare instance Dirzryn should continue to live seeing as Dachlyn could provide no more children should one of Azenai’s other boy’s also suffer an untimely death.

Now at 94yrs old and a grand 5ft tall Erynai DeVagrant certainly looks fighting fit and doesn’t appear like he might drop dead any time soon. Despite being overshadowed by a relative poverty and history that would make most men shrink into secluded misery Erynai is a happily married man with two young children. A salt of the earth type of fellow he likes hands on tasks, enjoys teaching his girls about agriculture and the challenge of a hard graft. He defeats daily hardship with an earnest smile and the simple pleasure of home-grown food. 

Now any man with true appetite for life is certainly one we can see eye to eye with! Clearly he enjoys indulging in the produce as much as he enjoys growing it, a facet about him we instantly take a shine to. Although deeming his children young could be considered a misnomer seeing as his girls are 31 and 25 respectively, in actuality anyone under the age of 50 is considered young in drow society.  

Apart from being a little on the rotund side Erynai is at the peak of physical fitness for a drow of his age. He can lift an impressive amount of weight and is apparently renowned for having incredible stamina. The ladies in our office take this opportunity to jest that his wife ‘must be a happy woman,’ to which he responds with hearty naivety, ‘well she does bake the most marvellous pies.’ 

Thankfully Erynai is either too thick-skinned or too thick-headed to care about the ensuing titters. We suspect a little of both. Being an easy-going and straightforward fellow Erynai isn’t the greatest conversationalist but he is undoubtedly a helpful soul who shows great enthusiasm for his work, is passionate about his family, his heritage and life in general. He tells us that, ‘there is nothing better than working up the sweat of the land,’ which due to his given job we assume to mean ‘getting mucky ploughing and planting in the fields.’

He currently co-owns the DeVagrant family farm with his elder brother Xiaz and works long hours as the main manual labourer. Xiaz handles their accounts and sales and has been the primary holder of their land for 78years since their late father Dachlyn passed away. The farmland is small and the plot itself privately owned by a wealthy benefactor but the farm is productive enough to support both families and up until recently also their ‘layabout’ brother Aezlyn.
Being blessed with green fingers as the saying goes, Erynai loves his work. He considers himself very connected to the earth he toils and very much likes to watch things grow, he doesn’t hesitate to exclaim that he ‘would choose being out in the fresh air over reading a book any day.’

Not being a great thinker Erynai likes simplicity, a practical man in all senses, he doesn’t understand anyone who is interested in the arts, magic or other similar ‘non-physical’ pursuits. He thus considers his brother Aezlyn (who is 12 years his younger) as a bit of an airhead, a heel-dragging dreamer who was nothing but deadweight when he lived on their farm.

It should be noted here that neither Xiaz nor Erynai get along very well with their two younger siblings, especially Dirzryn whose easily-found wealth and status proves a particularly sore point of contention. When asked directly about the matter Erynai feigns general disinterest yet his brow piques with ingrained irritation as he grunts, ‘my brother’s business is his own.’ The subject certainly still strikes an exposed nerve. 

As far as we understand this isn’t because Dirzryn has wealth and they do not, but more to do with the shame of not only having a fourth sibling but having a fourth sibling who was notoriously appointed leader in a transparent ploy to appeal to the good-nature of other nations. Which as Erynai clarifies Dirzryn then failed at, because, as Eryn puts it, ‘he shouldn’t have our name, he weren’t raised here with us, not since he was six; he’s always been an upper-class arsehole.’

So it’s fair then for us to say that Erynai thinks his brother was, at best, over-privileged from the start. 

Having previously interviewed both Dirzryn and Aezlyn we can attest that his judgement isn’t entirely unfair. However Erynai can’t see past the end of nose when it comes to those who possess ambitions and ideals beyond supporting their family. We admit we would likely reach a similar conclusion if we had to fight as hard as Erynai just to scrape out a pittance every single day. 

Obviously a patient and meticulous man when it comes to cultivating his land Erynai is not so tolerant when it comes to people. Generally calm and laid-back Erynai displays an equally aggressive and confrontational side when challenged or threatened. He proves to be fairly short-tempered especially when cornered in a disagreement about the way something should be done or said, as we learnt, especially if you get the facts wrong when speaking of his family. True then for us to quip that Erynai is a resolute man, stubborn in his way of life and beliefs and not a fan of sudden change.

From the birth glyphs oh his left arm (not pictured, the artist was lazy and hence won’t be fed this evening) we can tell (after an hour or so flicking through our drow glyphographic guide to decipher them) that Erynai was born in summer, under the moon of a clear May night between 18:00 and 18:59. How any drow can remember the intricacies of all those designs is beyond us, or perhaps they don’t and like ourselves have to scurry home and check their reference books when they really want to know what the other person is all about. It is, if nothing else, a good conversation starter, we’ll give them that.