Thursday, 15 February 2018

CLXI. Legen: Sir Pelial and the Two Ravens



Two men went to hunt in Tall Dun Wood. 

One alone came back.

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Sir Pelial was riding through a forest again, on his quest to slay giants in the North. The Aelf followed, with her bow on her back. As they passed a hawthorn tree, Sir Pelial noticed a pair of black ravens perched on its branches. And he heard them talk. 

The first one said, "Where shall we go and dine today?" 
"In a hollow behind the old stone wall, I know there lies a new-slain knight," replies the other. "No one knows that he lies there, but his hawk, and his hound, and his lady fair. His hound is to the hunting gone, his hawk to fetch the wild-fowl home, his lady loves another knight; so we may make our dinner sweet." And the ravens flew away. 

Sir Pelial said to the Aelf, "Those carrion birds shall have to find some other dinner today. Quick, let us follow them." Soon they reached that place where the murdered knight lay. The ravens were already at it, pecking out the dead man's eyes. Sir Pelial scared them away, picked up the lifeless body and tied it to the back of his horse. The Aelf watched this in disbelief. "What do you want with that thing," she asked Sir Pelial. "You shall find out soon," he replied. "We are going to call on Iulia Docta-Sophosse."



They took their dead man to Iulia Docta-Sophosse, who was a master reanimator from the land of Turm. Sir Pelial gave her a bag full of gold, and then Iulia shook his hand and had the corpse carried to her cellar. There she had her servants peel off its skin, and scrape all the meat off the bone. The bones they then boiled and bleached in a vile brew, whose preparation is a well kept secret of the necromancers. The clean white skeleton was then laid out on the ground, and Sir Pelial and the Aelf were sent away. What was to happen next, they were not allowed to observe. So Sir Pelial went to a smith with the fallen knight's suit of armour. He handed him too a bag of gold, and the craftsman set to work. When the suit of mail was remade to Sir Pelial's satisfaction, they went back to the house of Iulia Docta-Sophosse.



Their new companion was waiting for them there. A man of bone stood silent and still in Iulia Docta Sophosse's yard, with his empty eye sockets, bare ribs and long gaunt fingers. Iulia instructed Sir Pelial on what rite to do every day to keep the skeleton animated, and to the Aelf she explained how it should be cleaned and repaired. Then they put his black armour on, said farewell to the reanimator, and went back on their way.

.
As she marched next to the eerie figure, the Aelf wondered for a moment what his name was, and what had ended him. But that moment passed, and she thought no more of it. 

The Aelf hoped the next person they met would have more spirit than humourless Sir Pelial and the hollow Murdered Knight...




*   *   *


The Murdered Knight, the second member of the retinue, is here. Conversion is based on one of the old citadel skeletons. It got an arm and head swap from Empire Knights, and a shield from plastic Giant bits. The helmet was heavily modified with green stuff.


The story is this time partly based on the Scottish ballad Twa Corbies. It's a grim song and I absolutely love it. This is my favourite performance of it I've found so far:


24 comments:

  1. Very very atmospheric and interesting story!
    Minis are awesome!
    best
    M.

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  2. Your productivity is frightening! The Murdered Knight is a fantastic conversion.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, seems I've been in a bit of a creative frenzy lately.

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  3. Looks amazing! If you like that song, you should look into Appalachian murder ballads. Because if the shared heritage, the music is very similar and they tend to tell really dark stories.

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    1. Thanks! Excellent, more murder ballads to add to my playlist.

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  4. Beautiful work. The story has a reads like a dark fairy tale and your dioramas could be straight out a medieval woodcutting. And you introduced me to some wonderful new folk music to boot!

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  5. What else to say? The story is very interesting: the old flavour of a medieval folk tale can be tasted on it. The conversation between the two ravens is what I like the most. Remembers me old medieval literature,like Chretièn or Taliesin, or even the Grimm brothers.

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    1. Thanks! I can't take full credit for that part; what the ravens say is adapted from the song. This is how it goes:

      As I was walking all alane,
      I spied twa corbies makin a mane;
      The tane unto the ither did say-o,
      “Whar sall we gang and dine the-day-o?”
      “Doun by yon auld fail dyke,
      There lies a new slain knight;
      And nane do ken that he lies there-o,
      But his hound, his hawk an his lady fair-o.”
      “His hound is tae the huntin gane,
      His hawk tae fetch the wild-fowl hame,
      His lady’s tain anither mate,
      So we may mak oor dinner swate.”

      ...

      And then they go on to describe their scavenging plans, et cetera.

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  6. Terrific stuff! My granny was very keen on the Border Ballads; she pointed me towards The Twa Corbies because it would appeal to my youthfully gruesome instincts.

    I really like the blue-skinned elf; I've been experimenting with blue-skinned, red-eyed dwarves (at the risk of smurfism!) on my LAF thread (http://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=77384.msg1324620#msg1324620), as I think both elves and dwarves are both ill-served by their reduction in games to aesthetes and bar-room brawlers, respectively. Much better to have them eerie, inhuman and unknowable! Your Aelf is all three in spades - brilliant!

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    1. Thanks JC! That's a truly creepy blue dwarf. I like him a lot! And I agree, elves and dwarves tend to be represented in the same tired manner most of the time.

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  7. Love it! That helmet is a great upgrade from the original.

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  8. This is one of the most inspiring miniature related blogs, I ve ever seen. Your artistic style and narative give an unexpected twist to the usual trends. I wish I could see a stop motion version. I really enjoyed the dark fairytale like tales, they have that medieval Balkan vein. I dont know if you are already familiar with it, but you should check the Song of the Dead Brother. Its a Greek poem from 9th century Asia Minor, very dark and atmospheric. Here is a somewhat decent translation in english.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_Brother%27s_Song

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    1. Thank you! I didn't know that one. But it shares some motifs with a folktale I know. In it, there's also an undead rider carrying a girl far away and returning to a grave, but in this case it's her lover, who died fighting in a war. But he becomes hostile when they reach their destination.

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  9. Very cool indeed--the Murdered Knight is a great conversion.

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  10. Everything is so much fun to look at. Gorgeous. I'm happy to see some old Citadel miniatures getting the deluxe treatment from you.

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    1. Thank you! I love the overall aesthetic of classic minis. And they are perfect for this kind of photography.

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