Sunday, May 9, 2010

Before the Queen of the Thrain

This is an old sketch I did (about a year ago) that I stumbled upon while cleaning today. I planned on doing something with it for a story, but I'm not sure where it fits in yet. I'll have to fix the perspective and get more reference, but I really enjoyed the feeling of this one. It was a lot of fun to do. I don't know what it is, but I love the idea of a quest that leads a character to a subterranean city ruled by a powerful dwarf-like matriarch. All of the people are women, no men. I really liked the Queen's garb. Enjoy!


  1. I like this compostion very much- The Troll Queen should be a regular character.

  2. I agree. I see them as being very war-like but simple and maybe a kind of Hades archetype in reverse. I think I was reading a Lloyd Alexander book when I did this.

  3. Wonderful drawing, Justin!
    I see what you mean about the perspective, but I think it's a pretty small detail. There's another detail that may or may not be a problem, but I thought I'd bring it up for the fun of discussion.

    The man in the foreground seems to be greeting the Troll Queen for the first time. The queen appears to be in mid-argument (mouth open, stern expression and left hand gesticulating) Both figures seem right for the scene, but it's improbable that they would be doing both at the same time. (Unless the man is actually motioning for the Queen to stop arguing with him). The smaller guard trolls, exchanging whispers and looking on with interest, are well thought out. Their poses and expressions are appropriate for any time in the scene and their wary reactions to the foreigner give clues to a backstory.

    Great stuff!

  4. Thanks, Chuck! I see what you mean. When I did this the scene in my mind was going something like this:

    The traveler stood stoically before the Queen and raised his hand in stiff greeting. Few had been fortunate - or unfortunate, depending on the circumstances of the visitation - enough to have glimpsed the portly matriarch in her own vast throne-room. Her guardswomen gossiped and gestured in curious distrust, the light clink of silvered metal echoing in the cavern as they moved.

    "Hail, Queen of the Thrain, I come on errand from the East of the Overworld. The King of the Woode sends his deepest regards." His voice, though at first firm with hopeful resolve, fell to trembling uncertainty as he saw the shadow of disgust cross the queen's swollen features at the mention of his king.

    The matriarch, shifting lazily on her throne, the jeweled hem of her white gown whispering and tinkling on the stone as it spilled over the top step of the carven dias, spoke with a voice as firm as stone. A hint of annoyed arrogance ran beneath her words, a river racing deep below the mountain of her queenly ettiquette.

    "The King of the Woode? he risks much in sending you here. He knows our laws. Do you understand what we do with intruders, especially the kin of the forest?"

    "Indeed, highness. But our need is great-" A condescending murmur ran through the crowd of heavily armed guards. They pointed and shook their heads. Light from the dangling lamps glinted off their dark, beady eyes and silver spear points, each as sharp as the other. The stranger felt hemmed in, trapped between the fickle heart of the Queen and the dangerously eager guardswomen that had brought him to this wide, earthen chamber. It may yet be his prison, or his tomb.

    "Oh, put your hand down, Woodesman. You haven't yet joined my statuary. The news you bring is not foreign to my ears. Not so much of the Overworld's dealings are unknown to me as you might expect."

    The Woodesman lowered his hand haltingly until it rested mutely at his side, his other arm still cocked at the elbow, hand curled on hip. He wondered in that moment what wisdom could have convinced his lord to send him to this dark realm so far from the sun? Its inhabitants were likely unwilling to help him. The Thrain had not been a part of the Overworld's dealings in many centuries. Why should they involve themselves now? If the world above should fall, they would have countless places to hide in this, their tunnel-ridden kingdom. He knew not what lay in store for him here, but he assured himself it would not be pleasant, at all.

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  6. This isn't a part of a story or anything, yet. I have ideas, but usually when I do drawings like this for myself, little transactions like this take place. I leave enough open and add lots of hints to suggest for myself further development.

  7. Love the expressions of the guard trolls!