Louis of Nutwood

CHALLENGE IV: Category A: Själens Torn

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Entry for Book III Challenge IV, Category A "The Crown in Danger".

Själens Torn - The Tower of Souls

...

Sir Hallocan didn’t knock before pushing the door open. In times of distress, such formalities could be overlooked. Queen Ylspeth walked in circles inside her chambers, expecting his arrival.

-        So? – She asked, rubbing her hands together. Her eyebrows arched up.
-        It’s true, my queen. Our guardsmen in the north have already left their position, retreating. The watchmen in the west have asked for reinforcements, and from the south, the main roads are already blocked. We don’t have much time. – Explained the queen’s most trusted counselor.
-        But... Our walls are packed with soldiers and archers.
-       
They outnumber us tenfold, my queen. We might even hold a battalion or two, but we can’t expect to keep hoards of men bursting at our gates from every corner of this kingdom.

Air came out of the queen’s lungs and left a half-opened jaw hanging loose. Sir Hallocan continued.

-        I’ve arranged you a mount.
-       
I’m... I’m not fleeing! What will the folk say? I swore to protect them from any harm. I pledged to rule fairly! I would never abandon my people. I can’t... run away. – Queen Ylspeth was enraged. Sir Hallocan turned away.

He stepped back and lifted his chin to face the queen once again. The golden light of sunset reflected on the queen’s hands, where she held a silver dagger pointing at her stomach.

-        Leave me. – She said in a feeble voice.

Sir Hallocan approached her and covered both her hands with his. Her fists trembled, though if from fear, anger or sadness, he could not say.

-        You will rule no kingdom if you are dead. Thrones can be reclaimed and reconquered, but I can’t say the same about your life. By the end of this day, people will be fighting for your crown. I say let them. Let them start a bloodshed and kill each other. Let them divide and find out for themselves that they are not fitting for this burden. Your people will remain true to you, my queen. As I will. So, live another day, and keep protecting the people you swore to protect.

Her eyes filled from within and the sound of clanging metal echoed through the room when the dagger hit the floor.

-        Where are we going, Sir Hallocan?
-       
Cover yourself. It is best that you don’t know. – He put on his hood, covering his face.

Sir Hallocan took her hand and ran. They left the castle into the market square. People ran in every direction while guards handed wooden shields and spears to the ones designated physically capable of fighting.

How did it come to this?

There were no remaining horses on any of the stalls, noticed the queen when entering the stables. Sir Hallocan walked past the stalls and entered a door by the end of the corridor. Then, a sound cry of a horse echoed, and he left pulling two mounts.

The horses galloped through the eastern gates. Two hooded figures distanced themselves from the city walls, opposing the flow of peasants looking to protect themselves. Nearing the blue shores of the Ystwythan Bay, Sir Hallocan began to slow his pace and stepped down from his horse, next to the water.

-        There! – he pointed at an empty wooden boat tied to a tree, fitting for two people.

Sir Hallocan and Queen Ylspeth entered the boat and paddled away from the shore. The kingdom’s walls and towers turned smaller and fainter in the distance, while the salty and cold water of the bay splashed on the queen’s face and soaked the tail of her velvet green dress.

 

Själens Torn

The coast was no more than a distant green line when Sir Hallocan stood up inside the boat and raised his hand to his forehead, protecting his eyes from the light. He stared into a darksome cloud, formed in the middle of the ocean. He paddled again, and the boat slid into the mist.

Själens Torn

Inside the fog, the dark silhouette of an island formed before their eyes. A tall decayed tower, partially destroyed by time, stood amidst the few remaining plants that survived in such stranded environment. The tower hung over a stoned cliff, where the waves crashed and washed away the hanging seaweeds. On the lower part of the granite wall, a wooden deck welcomed any unlikely visitors. The place was empty. Lifeless.

 

Själens Torn

-        Själens Torn – The Tower of Souls... Don’t worry, my queen. No one will bother you here. – Sir Hallocan said as they approached the boat to the wooden dock.
-        Why are you so sure?
-        People say the tower is cursed.
-        And is it? - The queen moaned.
-       
I guess we will find out.

 

Själens Torn

The queen stared into the ocean, disappearing into the mist. I’m no longer queen, she thought. I’m no longer anything.

________

Make sure to check my entry for category B of Challenge IV too:

Hope you all like it. 

Louis of Nutwood. 
 

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Nice work!  I like the tower and the uneven ground level that it sits on.  I'm not a huge fan of the solid color water technique, but you have done a great job with it, and I don't find it distracting from the build (as I usually do).  The close-up shot of the queen on the boat is great--really captures the scene. 

I like how the story leaves open the potential for the queen to return, even outlining the plan of letting warring factions weaken each other before her return.  I do have one question, though: is the initial castle scene in Cedrica or elsewhere?  I'm curious because it appears that Cedrica is landlocked and sits on a lake, not a bay.  I'm not sure if that body of water has been named, so I was curious where Ystwythan Bay is, as the initial scene isn't really specified and may not begin in Cedrica.

Very nice job on both the build and the story!  I look forward to more!

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I like the eerie feel of the tower.  Nice boat and dock.  The rockwork is good.   Great story to go with the build.  

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4 hours ago, Grover said:

Nice work!  I like the tower and the uneven ground level that it sits on.  I'm not a huge fan of the solid color water technique, but you have done a great job with it, and I don't find it distracting from the build (as I usually do).  The close-up shot of the queen on the boat is great--really captures the scene. 

I like how the story leaves open the potential for the queen to return, even outlining the plan of letting warring factions weaken each other before her return.

Thanks again, sir Grover! Your precise evaluation is always thoroughly expected.When I thought about the approaching boat, I knew I had to use THAT head-piece for the queen. I think it is the first time I've tried this technique for the water, and I like how it shows a little effect of reflection on it.

Thinking about the queen, I don't like to think it is the absolute END of her. Just think she needs a moment to grow and think things over.

4 hours ago, Grover said:

I do have one question, though: is the initial castle scene in Cedrica or elsewhere?  I'm curious because it appears that Cedrica is landlocked and sits on a lake, not a bay.  I'm not sure if that body of water has been named, so I was curious where Ystwythan Bay is, as the initial scene isn't really specified and may not begin in Cedrica.

The Queen and Sir Hallocan were actually in Albion, Sir Grover (correct me, please, if there is something unusual going on in Albion that I'm not aware of). 

Sir Hallocan needed only to receive his last report of moving troops to decide how to proceed, and Albion sits in a strategic position. It is highly fortified, so it could protect the queen in any distress. It sits near Cedrica, should they decide to retreat, lock themselves inside the castle and fight back. And finally, it is close to the sea, should the reports show more foes than expected and they decide to flee by boat (- as they did). Although they left through the eastern gates of Albion, the roads lead them to the west, where the open sea (and the Ystwythan Bay) is. 

The Ystwythan Bay is a small bay located in the southern part of the Mystic Isles, in Avalonia. 
The Själens Torn is actually positioned in one of those isles, protected by a mystic mist. 

I hope it all makes more sense, now. Does it clarify?
I truly appreciate your attention to detail, Sir Grover. It really makes us think further and strategically in this living world called Historica. 

48 minutes ago, zoth33 said:

I like the eerie feel of the tower.  Nice boat and dock.  The rockwork is good.   Great story to go with the build

Thanks again, Sir Zoth.

I tried to add some mystic-eerie feel to the tower, and I'm happy you captured the spirit of it. As a fairly small build, I had to keep the boat and the dock to a minimum piece count. But I'm satisfied with the scale. 

I'm thrilled you liked it, sir. 

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Really cool ruined tower!  I like the immersive minifigure level shots too.

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As others said, the build has a very eerie feel to it that goes with the story perfectly! The water is nice because it adds a nice bit of colour, and the tower is very good too.

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Good landscaping and nice work on the water techniques. Like others have said the tower is creepy..

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Nicely done, the water works surprisingly well and the tower has a nice worn-down look to it :classic: :thumbup:

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9 hours ago, Kai NRG said:

Really cool ruined tower!  I like the immersive minifigure level shots too.

Thank you, Sir Kai! I always try to remember to take these pictures from minifigure perspective. To me they look super cool too!

8 hours ago, Eoin Wallace said:

As others said, the build has a very eerie feel to it that goes with the story perfectly! The water is nice because it adds a nice bit of colour, and the tower is very good too.

Thanks a lot, fellow Mitgardian Wallace! I'm happy the story fits the building. It really is a challenge, sometimes, to build the environment we picture in our minds.
I was a bit unsure about the water - it was the first thing I built - but as you said, the splash of color is balanced in the end. I'm glad you liked it, mate!

3 hours ago, Blufiji said:

Good landscaping and nice work on the water techniques. Like others have said the tower is creepy..

Thank you, Master Blufiji! It's a pleasure to get a review from such an inspiring builder. 
It was the first time I tried this "flat base" technique - which I'm pretty happy with - and the crashing waves effect, as well. To me, it is really a cool effect. And I'm glad you enjoyed it, man!

50 minutes ago, adde51 said:

Nicely done, the water works surprisingly well and the tower has a nice worn-down look to it

Thanks, adde51! I'm pretty happy with the final result. The worn-down tower looks just as I imagined it. And I'm getting that this water technique might be a bit controversial, but super happy it worked out here. 
Cheers!

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Really nice story, it's good to see the conflict within Ylspeth rather than making her a one dimensional character.

I like the tower too and the way it sort of tapers off at the top, very believable ruin effect. The use of horns as waves is a nice touch too.

Also great use of depth of field in some of the close up shots, adds a nice perspective to the scene.

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7 hours ago, Basiliscus said:

Really nice story, it's good to see the conflict within Ylspeth rather than making her a one dimensional character.

I like the tower too and the way it sort of tapers off at the top, very believable ruin effect. The use of horns as waves is a nice touch too.

Also great use of depth of field in some of the close up shots, adds a nice perspective to the scene.

Thank you, sire Basiliscus. 
I truly appreciate your constructive evaluation. 

I always try to see the person behind the minifig. With all the flaws, uncertainties, mixed feelings and emotions. 
I believe this is the first time I tried coming up with a ruin, and I'm very happy with the result. I was a little skeptical about the waves, though, but I reckon too that the final effect pays off. 

As for the close-ups, they truly add some feeling to the visual storytelling, right?

Thanks again for the feedback, mate!
Much appreciated. 

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