[Freebuild] Embervale Castle - Command Room and Armoury (Chronicles of Embervale Ep.03)

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A "military" build to flesh out Embervale in the Historical Settlements and one day get it included in the "Avalonian Sites and Monuments: a comprehensive guide"...and also my entry for Brickscalibur's "Interior Architect" category.
Here are the command room and the armoury of the castle of Embervale!



(Global photos in the hidden section) 







The story - Chronicles of Embervale Episode : To arms!

          Alrune - The Elf Maiden, Lady of Embervale, mage
          Dresghar - The Chronicler, her faithful uncle, erudite
          Evrart - The (recently promoted) captain of her guards
          Gram - A guard
          Rex - The guards’ pet tarasque
          Goblin guards, skeletons

"So, how are you doing?" Dresghar cheerfully asked the captain.

Brooding next to the window of the command room, his arms crossed and his eyes gazing into space, Evrart let out a slight sigh but did not answer.
Shortly following their expedition to the druidic mausoleum, out of the blue, Lady Alrune had come up with the unfortunate idea to appoint him as the captain of her guards.
Her goblin guards. Only recently had the pesky little thugs dropped the idea of eating him, he wondered how she could think they would obey him anytime soon.

"Are you alright?" Dresghar repeated.
Evrart sighed again and gestured toward the courtyard on the other side of the window, where a few goblins were enthusiastically poking each other with blunt spears.
"I’m trying to get them through basic training, sir. Teamwork. Hierarchy. Elementary hygiene. Stuff like that."
"And it doesn’t go as intended?"
"Oh well, they happen to follow my orders from time to time. And they know which side of a spear is supposed to be pointed at the enemy. I guess that’s a start."

One of the goblins tripped over his own weapon, fell in a puddle, and made all the others giggle foolishly.
"Let’s just hope the lady doesn’t have short-term military ambitions, sir."

Evrart turned his attention away from the goblins – his goblins – and observed Dresghar snooping around the command room. It was a large study located in one of the most ancient parts of the castle, reflecting the architectural style of the humans who had built the early stronghold rather than the ornate design of the elves who had later besieged it, won it, and rebuilt it.
The successive elven governors of the castle had kept the room as intact as possible, going so far as to hire human workers to renovate the elaborate parquet floor and furniture. Lady Alrune’s father, who had used the place as his headquarters during all his campaigns, was allegedly the first to add his coat of arms and colours on the walls and decorate with personal items and weapons.

"Do you know how to read and write?" Dresghar suddenly and unexpectedly enquired.
"More or less, sir," Evrart replied after a short hesitation. "The baron I used to serve taught me how to sign my name and read simple messages."
"Well, I guess that’s a start,” the elf sneered. "Now that you’re an officer of Embervale, you’ll need to participate to administrative tasks as well as military ones."

Evrart rolled his eyes.
"Very funny, sir."


"Oh, I’m not joking," Dresghar replied with a mischievous smile. "There. Here are the books where my niece was recording her military expenditures. She’s very bad at accounting, even you can’t do worse. Give it a try!"
And, still smirking, he left the room and abandoned Evrart with a pile of books and the unpleasant feeling of being snookered.
First, irksome goblins, and now administrative chores. Why did he come to Embervale already? Oh, right, he had no place to live when the baron got rid of him, and he deemed the lady here as a respectable person. 


He spent the rest of a day – an eternity – struggling to decipher the tiny, tight handwriting of the said lady. He was almost concluding she had encrypted her writings, when an ear-piercing shriek shrilled. 

He froze, all senses in alarm. And soon, he heard the distinct sounds of a scuffle right from the next room.
The armoury.

He rushed out, only to find three panicked goblins trying to fend off a much larger group of skeletons.

Good old stupid skeletons, wielding decaying weapons, fighting bluntly without a hint of cooperation. Not that it really put them at disadvantage against the goblins, who were hardly better at tactical thinking.
Frightened eyes were peeking out from the door that led to the guards’ dormitory: the rest of the goblins, not even helping their comrades in need.
And, much to Evrart’s surprise, Alrune was in the room too. Unarmed, her hair undone, wearing a white nightgown, she was trying to comfort the guards’ pet tarasque cub. He briefly wondered why she was playing damsel in distress instead of fighting, but chose to focus on more immediate issues.

"Get out, you wimps!" he shouted at the hidden goblins. "Take weapons and fight!"


He heard them squabbling and moaning, but only one of them hesitantly ventured out of their lair. And stopped halfway when he noticed he was alone.
Exasperated, Evrart crushed a few skeletons out of his way and reached the strongest among the fighting goblins.

"Gram, make those cowards come out! If any of them dares to resist, feel free to tear off their ears – or whatever else comes to your mind!"
The goblin flashed him a vicious smile and headed to the door. A few squeaks and screeches later, the whole company was in the guards’ room and frantically grabbing the nearest weapons.

"Leave those freaking spears alone! Take clubs and maces!" the captain yelled.
"Clubs and maces, you freaking fools!" Gram repeated while dropping her own spear.  

And, much sooner than Evrart had expected, all the intruders were shattered.


The goblins cheered and drank all night long, boasting at their military prowess. The next morning, their captain was in a foul mood and had a severe headache when he met Alrune for their daily brief.
"I regret to say that, but I have yet to find where the skeletons came from," he reported bitterly.
"Really? They simply come from the basement. I animated them in the catacombs under the castle."

He recoiled, staring at her in disbelief.
A silence fell.
And last.


"I’m what your people call a dark elf, and I’m a mage," Alrune finally stated, her voice deeper than usual. “How could you not expect me to know enough necromancy to animate a few skeletons?"
"If you say so! But why the heck would you do that to attack the armoury? I mean, your own armoury?"
"It was a live exercise for the goblins and you! Or rather, an undead exercise," she added with a slight chuckle he found appalling.

A rather puzzled Alrune watched him leave the room swearing under his breath. She had given him a trusted position, helped him train his men – err, goblins, and yet the guy was still as grouchy as ever.
Oh well, humans. Strange people, really.



The cast!


Edited by Aurore

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The whole construction is well done, I like the shots where the activity and posing of the figs gives a vividly sensation.

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So many fun details here! I love the horse armor and mounted crossbows in the armory, and the wood floors, chess set, rug near the entrance, the joust painting on the wall, and large table in the study! I also love how you "went the extra mile" and included details between the two rooms (ie. the cut lumber) and on the back side of the build as well - I especially like the dark brown 1 x 3 pieces on the door! Those are just the highlights, however - there are no "weak links" in this build!

I also like the smoky effects you have in a few shots (namely the fireplace scene with Dresghar and Evrart). Did you achieve that with some smoke "on set" (with some real smoke, etc.) or did you add it "in-post"!

I know this is a broad question, but how long did it take you to build this MOC (and each installment of the Chronicles of Embervale) "on average"?



Edited by socalbricks

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Great build and story!

Very nice and detailed built command room and armory. I really like the walls with the pillars and arches. Very well how the walls are also decorated. It is nice that there is a fireplace in both rooms. I also like the selection and positioning of the minifigures.

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@Blufiji Thank you very much! I'm really glad you enjoy the weapon rack, as is one of the first elements I built for the whole scene (along with the desk of the command room). :sweet:

@Niku Thank you so much! Photography had been a hobby of mine long before I re-discovered LEGO, and I have to admit I rather enjoy taking those "activity" shots!

@socalbricks Thank you so much for that detailed feedback! :wub: The smoke effect is done "on set", using a facial mister. Mist allows a diffusion of light that I'm not skilled enough to achieve using photoshop!
Concerning the took me almost two months to complete this build, all while preparing the Advent Calendar and my Brickscalibur and CCC minifig entries - and working on weekdays, and decorating the house for Christmas. I'd say it was rather quick! :laugh: The Moonbird Mausoleum (the build just before) and the Great Hall (the first one) had taken a little bit longer in less busy periods. 

PS: your question about the mist made me think of making a little "process" montage...

@NOD Thank you very much! Both fireplaces can be lighted - or rather, could once be lighted, because I used old light bricks that are already KO. :hmpf:

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@Sympatik Brick Thank you so much! There are such a bunch of amazing entries to Brickscalibur, simply participating and being able to see all of this is already great luck! :excited:

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You really go all out on this photography thing... that's a serious set up there!  Very cool with the lights.  Makes for some gorgeous minifigures shots. 

The entire MOC is great, with a very effective layout and loads of detail--the sigils on the walls being some of my favorite parts!  Intriguing story too, I wonder where this is going!

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Super fun story, topped with a neatly detailed environment. I love the busy look, with books and goblets and statues and racks and adornments... there's not a speck of dust out of place, here. 
Very inspiring composition, Aurore. 
But something about your work strikes me all the time.

I am perplexed by the amount of work and effort you put into the photography step.
The result pays off, naturally. You're one of the best photographers in the community, IMO. There's always so much emotion and ambiance immersion, it's really breathtaking to engage in your work, Aurore. 
But still! 28 trial shots. Plus different lighting spots, doubles, assistants, misters and misses... I can only imagine you run with a near-professional photo equipment, right? 
And, by the way, your background setting is really unique and creative! 

Loved seeing some behind the scenes, Aurore. Thanks for sharing!
Keep up with the outstanding work. 

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@Kai NRG Thank you so much! I'm definitely a big fan of the Nexo shields. :laugh:

@Louis of Nutwood Thank you so much for those oh-so motivating words, Louis! :cry_happy:

Concerning my photography effort..well, I have to confess that while it may become frustrating sometimes (so many trials, still not exactly what I had in mind!), it's still a lot of fun actually. 

Concerning equipment, photography has been a hobby of mine - and of my husband's as well - for a very long time. Over the years, we've hence been able to get nice gear and learn the basics on how to use it. I was more interested in nature and landcsape photography though, and now I have a lot to learn about studio and toy photography! Brickcentral is an amazing community for that, and I think most of my improvements in LEGO photography comes from there.

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You've built another great moc with another excellent installment to your story.  I appreciate all the little details you've squeezed into the rooms, but my favorite inclusion has to be the downspout on the outside of the armory. I'd love to see these fitted into a larger moc showing the entirety of Embarvale Castle, though I'm sure that would be staggeringly large based on the scale of the rooms you've built so far!

Kudos on the documentation of your photography process, it's both informative and inspirational, and a fun peek behind the curtain!

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@The Stad Thank you very much! So glad you noticed - and appreciate - the downspout, it was a last-minute addition because I thought the back looked too...grey. 
I'd love to gather the rooms to have the whole castle too! I'll probably give it a try when I have more rooms...and if I find enough space! :laugh:

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What a cool build and story. Doesn't Evrart realise she is giving the goblins free field exercises??

Overall, I am impressed that despite all the bley walls, it doesn't feel that way at all - lots of detail to attract the eye and keep it. Thanks for sharing details about your photography approach too. It will help me to be more patient with mine. I love the wooden floor - it look polished in some of the photos due to the reflection - and the wood stacked between the rooms. 

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@Servertijd Thank you very much! The chess board is my own personal little favourite part of the build...:grin:

@Eyrezer Thank you so much! The wooden floor has been built with brand-new tiles from B&P, not a single scratch in sight - I was actually bothered by how shiny and pretty they look! :laugh:

19 hours ago, Eyrezer said:

Doesn't Evrart realise she is giving the goblins free field exercises??

Well, it's complicated...he may be blinded by its prejudice against necromancy... :facepalm:

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Gorgeous!  I love seeing your builds, not only because they are fantastic, but because you share your techniques for building, lighting, and photography.  Some of the very realistic touches, like the LED in the fireplace, are so natural your eye doesn't catch them right away.  I really like your attention to detail in the floor wood work, the shields on the walls, the stonework, and even part of the exterior build even though it won't be seen beyond the spoilers! (Bonus for the seagull!)  I particularly love the fireplaces.  They are simple and elegant in their design.  The decorations on the walls and the furniture at top notch.  All of this, and you have a great story.  I'm enjoying reading about embervale!   My only regret is that I can't see all your builds together in one giant castle all at once!

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