Wednesday, March 16, 2016

"Nothing Ventured" Pulp Bonus Round Entry

So having achieved a podium place in all five previous AHPC bonus rounds (woot!) I'm hanging on the last round now to "collect the whole set" as it where.

This time around I've entered a tribute of sorts to The Lord of The Vignettes, Sir Michael Awdry.
Along the way I've managed to have a friendly dig at some fellow bloggers as well.


There's loads of other inspired entries so please head over and throw in a vote or three for your favourites.

Cheers,
Millsy

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Challenge (Day 72); The Nautical Round (and The Sorry Tale of Admiral Thadrak Krakenbane)

Day 72, and I finally got my act together well enough to submit an entry in the 'Nautical' Bonus Round.

This is a Scibor Miniatures 'Chaos Dwarf Admiral with Panzer Duck', a resin casting which has been on the lead (and plastic and resin) pile for a few years now.

He's clearly a figure of some authority, with considerable gravitas, yet here he is in a craft which could charitably be described as 'unimposing'. As I painted the figure, I found myself wondering, "How does an Admiral end up like this?" And then I began to imagine exactly how...


The evening sun was scattered by the volcanic smoke from Mount Shakhazaramash.

Soon the Brazen Horn of Zadak-Yann would sound to summon the inmates to return through the Portal of Hopelessness. Dire penalties awaited those who tarried...

Thadrak Krakenbane glowered. He hadn't expected imprisonment. He'd always thought he'd die at sea. And he nearly had, on more than a few occasions in his long and violent life.

It had been ninety-five years, no, ninety-six - ninety-six years? It had gone so quickly! - since his black ironclad flotilla had immolated the Elvish fleet at Cape Ythrian. If he closed his eyes, he could still smell the burning timbers and calcined bone, hear the death screams of his foes, and see the fell beasts of the abyss, corpse-pale and night-dark, surge to the surface to claim their due. 

Happy days...


But then everything changed. The jealousy of lesser individuals, and the fears of the greater, combined to see him moved to an Admiralty desk, to be pecked to death by endless paperwork, snared in the coils of bureaucratic procedure, a slow and lingering demise. And then, disgrace and ignominy...

The trap had been set with exquisite timing. Oh, his enemies had been busy while he was being smothered by parchment and drowned in sealing wax! That whelp Mazrud had greeted him with a smirk - an Under-Commodore indeed, why, you could count the number of voyages that little twerp had made on the fingers of one foot! - and ushered him into a dim side chamber for a “private meeting". And so his doom was sealed.

The brass doors clanged behind him, their adamantine locks ratcheting shut. His fingers groped for his axe. He would not go down like a foodthrall to the slaughter!

Iron braziers flamed into life, illuminating the granite walls with a flickering orange light. And there, a banner, whose arcane runes spelled out a message that chilled Thadrak to his very marrow;

HAPPY RETIREMENT DREAD LORD ADMIRAL THADRAK KRAKENBANE! 
THANKS FOR 450 YEARS OF FAITHFUL SERVICE TO THE FLEET!

His betrayers surged forward, overwhelming him with numbers, slapping him on the back and shaking his right hand and pressing a goblet of firewine into his left. And before he knew it, it was over. He was outside, clutching a gold watch and a black marble tablet inscribed by all his staff, most of whom seemed to have  restricted their hasty chiselings to messages like ‘All the best’, and ‘Thanks for everything’. He couldn’t make out half the signatures, and those he could, he didn’t know. How had it come to this...?


And now, the final indignity. The Happy Acres Twilight Home for Retired Warriors. Having to share a dinner table with the likes of Gruzbog the Grim, an Orc Chieftain who never tired of telling anyone in the vicinity exactly how big a noise he’d been back in the day (though it was whispered that his only victories were over Halflings and Goblins), offended Thadrak’s sense of decorum. And community singing was an ordeal that Thadrak only wished he could have inflicted upon his enemies back in his glory days. Sigrid Thorasdottir, a superannuated Valkyrie, invariably led proceedings, thumping away at the piano and smashing teacups with a powerful soprano voice which was always a half-tone flat.

At least he could lose himself in the craft activities. He’d managed to smuggle various bits and pieces down to a long-abandoned shed, and had been working there on a project which would give him his freedom. He was going to set sail and leave this place; he would once more feel the sea breezes upon his face, see storms gather at the horizon, hear the crunch of enemy hulls as they gave way before the beak of his ironclad...

True, the vessel was somewhat cramped, and the choice of materials was not all it might have been, but he would be able to secure something better once he was free of this prison. So far, it seemed watertight, but he had to move quickly or he would be missed... He pushed out into the great green and sent a prayer down to Infernal Nekhtep to look favourably on his sailing.

Yoohoo, Mr Thadrak...!”

Too late! His captors had found him! He tried to start the demon engine, but it only sputtered feebly before falling silent. His hands clutched the gunwales, and his knuckles whitened as he set his jaw and awaited his fate.



He could see the rotund form of Matron Blarg lumbering down to the shore.

“What are we doing now, Mr Thadrak? Playing with your boats? Look at you, you’re soaked! And that’s your old uniform too, we don’t want to ruin that, do we, Mr Thadrak? Let’s get you back inside.”

Huge hands reached down and lifted him from the converted pool toy. He was trapped, dripping and helpless in the mighty grip of the Ogress. She wittered on happily as she wrapped him in a blanket and carried him back up the hill, away from the ornamental pond.

“Don’t want you to catch a cold, do we, Mr Thadrak? And listen, that’s the horn for dinner! We’d best hurry up now, there’s blood pudding tonight, that’s your favourite, isn’t it, Mr Thadrak?”

But all Thadrak could hear were his dreams of the sea, echoing and fading away.

That's all for now, but head on over to the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge page and check out the rest of the entries - there are some amazing submissions this year! 

Stay tuned...

Ev


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