Starting out week four with a shriek in the A to Z Challenge!
Today we have:
U is for Underworld Dragon
Happy Monday everyone! This is the last week of the AtoZ Challenge, and finding a “U” dragon wasn’t easy, but when I saw this terrifying Underworld Dragon by professional artist Michael Clarke, also known as SpiralMagus, I knew I could start this race to the finish line right — if only because I’m racing away from this guy!!
According to his deviantart profile, Michael is a professional illustrator working in the tabletop RPG field, who also likes to “create surreal, experimental ‘art for art sake.'” Michael painted this scary dragon for the Throne of Night adventure path from Fire Mountain Games, a company that creates independent adventure modules compatible with the Pathfinder RPG.
The Underworld is a common motif in the fantasy genre, and a “Journey to the Underworld” is a major step in the traditional Hero’s Journey. It is often part of the Road of Trials, the middle segment of the book where the Hero encounters tests, allies, and enemies. Here’s another piece by Michael from the Throne of Night adventure called Dark Frontier – Into the Fungal Jungle, that also has an underworld feel to it:
Writer Kathy Roydon had a WordPress blog back in 2014 where she talked about a lot of writerly craft, including this well-written and well-cited post titled Katabasis – The Hero’s Journey to the Underworld. She does a much more in-depth analysis of this literary trope than I have time for today, so I highly recommend checking it out.
A lot of Michael’s art is dark and realistic and creepy. Here is one last piece from the Throne of Night adventure titled Lich. Common in RPG and fantasy lore, a lich is defined by the Wiki as a “type of undead creature … the result of a transformation, as a powerful magician or king striving for eternal life uses spells or rituals to bind his intellect to his phylactery [power object] and thereby achieve a form of immortality.”
Oh dear. I wouldn’t want to go up against this guy, that’s for sure! Anyway, thanks as always for reading, take care and stay creative out there!