Halloween 2018: Corrupted Seed Maelvyrda

It's Halloween Day and time to reveal this year's project! As the recent lore posts would suggest, the subject of the project is Ardelrius' antithesis, the Corrupted Seed Maelvyrda! Check out the spotlight video here:

Like last year, I put up an album of the WIP phases of the project on Imgur. They're the same images from the spotlight video. This particular project was interesting since it was the first time I've focused on a body piece in addition just a mask and weapons. The Cloak of Roots is meant to be a series of tree-like tendrils protecting Maelvyrda's body. The glass eyes on the roots mimic its origins of the Tree of Souls. I also made the tattered cape as well. By cutting up an old sheet, I frayed the edges and drew the runic symbols by hand. The cape didn't need to have too many unique details since it's worn under the cloak.
Maelvyrda's two weapons are called "Sin" and "Punishment" with the red sickle being Sin and the blue one Punishment. I like the idea of them having elemental affinities and Sin would probably be fire while Punishment controlling ice. Originally I wanted to have the two sickles join at the ends to make a long double-ended scythe but they proved too heavy for the rare earth magnets. Instead, I attached them at the top to make a dual-sided hand sickle. The combined shapes could possibly pass as an axe too. The stone "eyes" on the blades helped add some color variation.
For Maelvyrda's mask, my initial concept art revolved around the idea of a plant monster. Since this creature is supposed to be a twisted version of the Tree's Will, I drew up some ideas with the upwards opening multiple "petal" jaws. This turned out to work well when building all of the opening parts outwards from the standard face-shaped shell. I added the white stones for contrast and glow-in-the-dark fangs along the jaws. It produces a neat effect in the dark after the teeth have absorbed light. Finally, I went with a blend of light and dark greens for the mask's colors. The greens were meant to contrast with the red color scheme of Ardelrius.
Overall, this was an interesting experiment. I learned a bit about crafting wearables on the body and would like to try my hand at armor next time. I teased another character a few entries ago and I hope to build on that idea soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for more project details and have a happy Halloween!

Lore Post: The Banished Seed


Here is the second lore post leading up to this year's Halloween project.


The Banished Seed

In all the pieced together records of the Tree of Souls, only one stands out as a “failure” of the mysterious entity. Legends have suggested that the tenth vessel of the tree’s will fell to corruption. With the Seal of the Abyss starting to weaken, the shadowy influence of the beings sealed in the alternate dimension began to seep into the mortal realm. The tenth person to take up Ardelrius’ mantle was enticed by the Insanity Prophet Rengal, one of the most insidious of the Sealed Ones. By binding the essence of the Summoner before it could realize its power, the tempter ripped away the Tree’s control and instead twisted the Seed. A monstrous demon was born whose power rivaled many of the Sealed Ones themselves. The corrupted Seed decimated the realm with unholy power. While it did not have the ability to store and wield souls, this creature instead commanded powerful arcane energies that could distort and bend reality itself.

The bloodshed and terror of the corrupted Seed raged on for two years before it was finally cornered. An alliance of humans, dragons, and even the elusive Araknyos Weavers was able to overcome the Seed and subdue it. The power of this alliance could not completely shatter and destroy the Seed. Instead, they were able to seal the creature and put it into a dormant state. Heavy runic chains bound the Seed and it was buried in a stone tomb deep within a mountain on the northern continent. The surviving members of the alliance knew the seals would not hold the Seed forever. With the Demon Smith having gone into hiding, it would only be a matter of time before the corrupted Seed would break free and return. Perhaps the ethereal will of the Tree of Souls would give rise to a new Seed in time to destroy its corrupted brethren once and for all.

The next post should go up on Halloween day.

Stay tuned!


Lore Post: Cycle of Birth and Judgment


As part of the lead-up to this year's Halloween project, here's some background lore:


The Cycle of Birth and Judgment

The Tree of Souls is one of the few artifacts that was not forged by the legendary Demon Smith. It’s suggested through the scattered mythology that its essence was formed from the wayward souls of those that had fallen to tragedy. Sometime around the second recorded age, travelers made note of a mysterious tree that grew from a tomb of solid rock somewhere on the Eastern Continent of the realm. The traveler records described a gnarled tree with dark crystalline branches and bone-like roots. Decorating both the body and branches of the tree were various colored jewel-like “eyes”. Would-be treasure hunters were unable to dislodge these jewels and those that tried supposedly met with terrible fates. This mysterious tree persisted through ages and was noted in several accounts as an unusual spectacle.

Later, during the second recorded age of the realm, many wars began to throw the lands into chaos. The rise of the demon armies and the reign of those that would eventually be sealed away in the Abyss threatened peace. During this period of strife, the Tree of Souls was said to bear a single fruit. This fruit would take the form of the Vessel Mask. While the early accounts and documentation of this object are inconsistent, sketches and other recovered pieces of writing describe a featureless flesh-like mask that hung from the branches of Tree.

Nobody knows the name or past of the first person that took the Vessel Mask from the tree. Perhaps desperation or a call to action drew this person to the Tree’s altar. Upon taking the mask and putting it on, the person was consumed by the power of the Tree of Souls and reborn as the Faceless Summoner, Ardelrius. After taking a single branch of the gnarled tree as a staff, this new being set forth into the chaotic war-torn realm in search of strong souls. The staff itself possessed the ability to channel consumed souls and use them as powerful weapons. Throughout the various times of chaos and turmoil, it’s said that Ardelrius rose again and again to drive back the destructive forces that threatened peace. Some witness accounts described the enigmatic being as a silent yet just warrior that fought the hordes of darkness while demanding no thanks and simply vanishing into the night once its work was done. Other accounts began to call the Faceless Summoner the Seed of Judgement, named after its merciless nature when striking down its foes.

It’s said that once peace was restored and the dark chaotic forces quelled, the Seed would return to the tree and seal itself away until its power was once again needed. No record of the original person remains and it's said their spirit was infused back into the tree as one of the noble souls that sacrificed their existence to wield its power.
Many generations after the last recorded glimpses of the Seed, it seems a new vessel now walks the lands to gather souls for the next great conflict.
Stay tuned for more updates as Halloween gets closer!