Aurore

[Freebuild] Embervale Castle : Great Hall (Chronicles of Embervale Prologue)

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Posted (edited)

This is what happens when a storyline I've had in mind for ages for a webcomic collides with my heartfelt reunion with my LEGO bricks and this year's Summer Joust "Creating an atmosphere" category...

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The build :

A castle, somewhere in the Enchanted Forest of Avalonia...

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The story : Chronicles of Embervale - Prologue*
*Also online on my brand new blog


Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived an elf maiden. She was fair and wise, with eyes bright as jade and hair dark as shadow.
Alas! The Elf Maiden’s heart was shrouded in sadness, for she lived alone in a secluded tower.

“Wait, what? I’m not sad, and I’m definitely not alone. I have three cats, a company of goblins, and…and you!”
“Right.”

With the hint of a smile, he wrote: Her days were only lit up by the gentle presence of her caring uncle.

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Alrune sighed and turned to the window.

“You know, Uncle, when I asked you to write our chronicles, I was thinking of something less lyric. Just a straightforward record of what happens in Embervale, actually.”
“Well, sweetheart, nothing ever happens in Embervale. I mean, we do have the occasional invasion of dire rats. Worgs in the forests. Dragon attacks. And way too many surprise visits from your mother. But nothing really interesting!”  

Alrune smiled, absently watching the sunrays flickering in the rustling leaves in the courtyard below.
She had willingly left the royal court to carry on her research in peace and tranquillity, and her uncle Dresghar had been ordered to go with her. Much to his dismay. She knew he missed the court’s thrilling and refined lifestyle.
She also knew the poet in him enjoyed the beauty of the mountains around Embervale, the quaint charm of the castle, and the simplicity of village life. Soon, for sure, he’d love this place as much as she did. 

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“There are people requesting a hearing, Boss!” the goblin guard hollered from the entrance of the hall. “From the village!”

The goblin gestured for the visitors to enter. A pack of peasants hesitantly moved forward, impressed by the grandeur of the hall and its dignified architecture. Though small and provincial, Embervale Castle radiated a solemn atmosphere even the unseemly attitude of the guard could not tarnish.

“Good morning. What would you like to talk about?” Alrune asked after an awkward moment of silence.
“There’s a monster in the forest, my lady! We lost two lambs and several hens.”
“Sheep and chicken? Are you sure this is not a mere worg? Or even just a big fox?”

Wringing their hands, clearing their throats, the villagers did not reply immediately. And then they all began to talk at the same time.

“It screams at night, my lady. Bloodcurdling cries. Worgs are decent creatures, they do not screech like that!”
“My brother Ivo, he saw a beast, my lady! Green, as big as a horse! With horns and a shell like a tortoise!”
“It breathes fire!”

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Moments later, if the words of the villagers were to be believed, it appeared that Embervale was threatened by a six-legged armoured monster with the head of an eagle and the tail of a dragon, taller than a house and faster than a hare, able to breath fire and spit venom.     

“I see. Probably something mightier than a fox, then. Horns and a carapace – a tarasque, perhaps?” Alrune speculated. “Go back home and stay safe behind the village walls, we’ll deal with it.” 

“So, sweetie, how exactly are we going to deal with that dubious monster?” Dresghar asked as soon as the villagers left.
Alrune avoided his gaze and remained silent, more concerned than she let on.

---

“Someone else, Boss!” the guard yelled again. “The guy who works for the neighbour!”

The goblin let the man in, a weary soldier with a stern face who gracelessly bowed to the Elf Maiden. He was no stranger in Embervale, as he had already delivered numerous messages from his quarrelsome master.

“Good morning, Evrart. What’s the matter this time?” Alrune asked before he even uttered a word. “Does a tree from my forests cast an outrageous shadow on your baron’s crops again?”
“Most likely, my lady. The old baron is…was a stickler for proper ground maintenance. But this is not my reason for coming.”

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He paused, obviously searching for words.
“He happened to die a few days ago. The old baron.”
“Good to know! … Huh, sorry – I mean, sorry for your loss.”

Despite his lack of manners, the human did have the grace to go on as if the Elf Maiden had not foolishly cut him off. He was speaking in a low tone, his voice bitter as if his own words hurt him deeply.  

“The young baron said he needed new blood. Dismissed us all who served his father. So I end up on my own, and I was wondering if you were hiring.”

A silence fell, somewhat altered by the squealing of Dresghar’s quill on the parchment as he decorated an initial.

“Well, actually, I have a problem with a tarasque…”
“A tarasque, my lady?”
“Or maybe a very weird fox. Whatever it is, it instils fear in the village. Investigate, find out what’s happening, and I’ll try to find you a place here.”      

---

A few days passed, and the human came back. By his side were the two guards of Embervale the Elf Maiden had sent to escort him, as well as a small, armoured creature with tiny horns.

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“And who’s that cutie?” Dresghar cooed, putting the Chronicles aside to kneel and pat the creature on the head.
“It’s a tarasque cub, sir. We found the remains of its mother in the marshlands,” Evrart replied. “It’s rather friendly, actually. It bites only when it’s scared.”
“It followed us home, Boss, can we keep it?” one of the goblins asked, coyly glancing at Alrune.
“Please, Boss?” the other one added with what he intended as a charming smile.

The Elf Maiden was gentle in heart – the kind of person who genuinely cared for stray kittens and fledglings fallen from the nest. Hence, at the end of the day, Embervale had welcomed two new denizens: a lovely little critter, and some ordinary human.

Edited by Aurore

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Wow - the picture a the window is amazing - the lighting is great and you can see your awesome stone techniques and decorations up close!  I like the vines on the back too - a bit more colorful than most, but what I like more are the brown pieces uses as the branches behind it all.

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Absolutely love the colorful vines on the exterior! Nice work

Like jtooker said, the lighting through the windows is spectacular.

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@jtooker @evancelt Thank you so much! The light through the window and the window sone decor are, in a way, the seed of the whole build. I was drafting a few window patterns when the actual sunset light came through my actual window...:sweet: I can't really take credit for the vines colour palette though, as I got inspired by a gorgeous image on artstation ArtStation - Vegetal Chasm, Sylvain Sarrailh 

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Posted (edited)

My word... A very intricate build, Aurore. The setting matches the style perfectly, up to details like the banners, furniture, and the wall etches.
Even the inevitable gaps in the floor when using those tiled shields blend in harmoniously, creating a good contrast with the colored tiles.

Edited by GeoBrick

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As I mentioned on Flickr, the vines outside are awesome! And the rest is great, too. The tiles on the floor create a lovely texture, and the ingot tiles look perfect as thick tomes on the wall. I like the story, too. My only complaint is that you did not put Embervale inside the Guilds. It would fit great there!

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I really like this build.  The detailing in the walls is great and the use of the nexo knight shield piece is nice.  All of the furniture is great, the couches and book shelves fit nicely within the great hall.  The use of Krackenskulls and Reinhardts helms is a nice touch.  The floor layout really compliments the walls.  The colors used is a great choice and the blue really pops in the floor.  I love the story too, simple and well thought out.  Great job all around.  

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@GeoBrick Thank you very much! I had a lot of fun decorating the room and I'm so glad you enjoy the details!

@Henjin_QuilonesThank you so much!

5 hours ago, Henjin_Quilones said:

My only complaint is that you did not put Embervale inside the Guilds. It would fit great there!

Do you really think it would? In this case, I'm ready to humbly request a moderator to move the topic!
I have not put it in the Guilds because I have not found out how to fit it there, actually. It definitely does not belong to my Mitgardian village (and does not fit in Mitgardia in general). It could fit in Avalonia given the aesthetics I have in mind for the castle and its surroundings, if dark elves and goblins may live in Avalonia, but I can't build for both Mitgardia and Avalonia, right? :look: 

@zoth33 Thank you very much for this detailed comment! Really glad to hear you like the story too!

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6 hours ago, Aurore said:

Do you really think it would? In this case, I'm ready to humbly request a moderator to move the topic!
I have not put it in the Guilds because I have not found out how to fit it there, actually. It definitely does not belong to my Mitgardian village (and does not fit in Mitgardia in general). It could fit in Avalonia given the aesthetics I have in mind for the castle and its surroundings, if dark elves and goblins may live in Avalonia, but I can't build for both Mitgardia and Avalonia, right? :look: 

Even though you are a Mitgardian builder, you are still free to build stories in other guilds! It is certainly allowed to have a secondary storyline that is completely unconnected to your primary one. You could even build up two different settlements for the HSS if you wanted to, perhaps to try out different architectural styles or just for the fun of it. And yes, dark elves and goblins may and do live in Avalonia. Perhaps in the highlands in the central part of the Enchanted Forest would be a good spot for such settlements. I don’t have permissions to move over any threads, but someone like @Ecclesiastes does, if you want him to move it into the Guilds.

Oh, and p.s. since you are a Mitgardian builder, Mitgardia still gets the freebuild credits, regardless of where the story is set. 

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Posted (edited)

@Henjin_Quilones Ooooh, such good news! :excited: Then I'd definitely would like to build Embervale in Avalonia (a remote corner of the Enchanted Forest would be perfect).
@Ecclesiastes  Would it be possible to move this topic to the Guilds sub-forum? Sorry for the inconvenience!

Edited by Aurore

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5 hours ago, Aurore said:

  Would it be possible to move this topic to the Guilds sub-forum? Sorry for the inconvenience!

No problem!:thumbup:

Awesome stuff here, filled with neat details. I really like those benches, they look simple at first but have some nice part usage.

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Posted (edited)

@Ecclesiastes Thank you so much! Those sleek, modern benches were much needed to offset the more traditional and ornate style of the hall. Or so did Alrune think after reading the last issue of the Elven Living home decor magazine. :wink:

Edited by Aurore
typo

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Posted (edited)

lovely built, so you gonna sneak those points to Mitgardia? Or are you going to make a secondary storyline for Avalonia:innocent:

Edited by Servertijd

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beautifully lit, finely detailed, and looks very neat to boot! Well done

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Posted (edited)

So much to love here! I really like the rockwork/masonry (both inside and out), tapestries (I might have to steal borrow that technique), floor tiles (love how you elevated the back half of the hall), wood furniture, and the ingots you used on those books! The parts combos on your figures also continue to impress!

Great job on the "atmospheric shot" as well - it looks gorgeous!

Edited by socalbricks

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Gorgeous!  The lighting is great through the windows, as others have said, and I love the patterned stone floor and walls.  The bookshelves look great with the books and trophies and I like the details such as the blue flags in the corner.  You have a real eye for color and the minis are perfect.  The vines outside remind me of many of your Mitgardian builds and are great.  I like that you detailed the outside of the build even though it would not be seen normally.  Creative use of those blue helicopter blades as tapestries as well.  The flowers between the benches look good.  A great build and I'm interested to see where this story goes!

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I've been waiting to comment until I had time to read the story--and now I'm quite curious as to what happens next!  And I enjoyed the humor. :grin:

As for the build--what gorgeous lighting!  Between you and Henjin, I think I need to take a second look at my lattice windows.  I also really like the variety of patterns you've got here, on the floor, on the walls--the thin arches with macaroni tiles are especially good.  Great furniture too, enough to be really interesting but without cluttering the room up, leaving it with a really grand atmosphere.  And you already know from Flickr that I love your choice of colors on the vine!  Clever use of the long blade pieces for hangings, too.

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Amazing. I especially like how the lights work peaking through the windows.

And the floor pattern is just perfect. I need to get more of those nexo shields :grin:

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I really like the detail on wall and floor. I love you decorated also the exterior.

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@Servertijd Totally sneaking the freebuild points to Mitgardia :blush:. But also definitely starting a new storyline in Avalonia...

@Spader Thank you so much! So glad you enjoy the details, they were really fun to build.

@socalbricks Thank you very much! I randomly stumbled upon those medium blue helicopter blades / dragon feathers and immediately thought of castle tapestries. We do need more oddly colored parts like that! :laugh:

@Grover Thank you so much for your detailed review! As for the vines, I had to sneak in some greenery even in an interior-focused build...:grin:

@Kai NRG Thank you so much! Given your talent with writing, I'm really glad you enjoyed the story! I have an overarching idea of the pitch, and two more "filler" episodes fully written. If I end up building something for the current Ancient Wonders challenge, though, I may have to add an episode inbetween! 

@Cube Brick Thank you very much! The nexo shields are my home decor castle decor crush. The printed ones make perfect wall decor, and the plain ones make perfect floor tiling! :tongue:

@Niku Thank you so much! Given the way I'm displaying the build in my room, it felt too odd to not decorate the exterior. And it was too much fun to miss the opportunity of adding vines!

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The ingot tiles as books work really well, I'm filing that technique away for future use! :laugh:

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@mrcp6d Thank you! I'm pretty sure I had already seen that technique used before, but I can't remember where..

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Lovely hall and beautiful colors and lighting, Aurore, and those vines creeping around the window on the outside are just gorgeous!  I love that you've even made the exterior ornate as well, and your minifig combos are always soo good :wub:  Great job with the furniture and floor tiling (those nexo knight shields work really well), and I enjoyed the story too! :classic:  Excellent work!

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