The Bridges Under the Mountains
This chapter was partially inspired by the Mines of Moria from The Fellowship of the Ring, but it’s also a response to the part of Stephen King’s postapocalyptic fantasy novel The Gunslinger, in which the hero Roland responds to his encounter with the “slow mutants” who live in a tunnel through the mountains by shooting them. I always thought that was rude of him, even when I first read the book as a kid. Couldn’t he have just, you know, tried talking to them?
The Demon King is, in many ways, my response to how upsetting I find the violence that’s taken for granted in a lot of science fiction and fantasy stories. It’s nice to be a hero, of course, but what might that sort of world look like if you’re the sort of person who’s considered to be a monster?
I’m working on creating a character design for Balthazar, the main character of The Demon King.
The visual aspects of his magic are based on the Twilight magic from Twilight Princess, which is a lot of fun to draw. Unfortunately for me, the reader isn’t going to see him casting the magic he specializes in until much later in the story, although other characters will occasionally allude to the fact that he’s able to do something they can’t fully perceive or understand. A large part of the story’s broader narrative arc therefore involves a lead-up to the revelation of what type of magic Balthazar is using, as well as how he’s using it – and why. The Demon King begins as something like a high fantasy sitcom, but (hopefully) it will gradually get deeper into worldbuilding and character backstories as it progresses.
Anyway, I’m still trying to settle on Balthazar’s face model, but I’m moving in the direction of Ranveer Singh, who has interesting and expressive features.
I’m also still trying to figure out his clothing. Specifically, I can’t decide whether his outer robe is the robe of a Roman Catholic priest or a Japanese Buddhist priest, or whether he just threw a blanket over his shoulders.
And please don’t think too hard about how his horns are attached to his head. It’s… magic?
This is an illustration of Ceres, one of the main characters in an original story I’m working on called The Demon King. (If you’re interested, I’m posting my first draft on AO3, but it’s still very much a work in progress.)
The idea behind this character is that “pure-hearted” video game princesses like Peach and Zelda always seem to rule their kingdoms mainly by themselves, which is a bit disturbing if you think about it. The Demon King has a larger narrative arc, but for now it’s mainly a play on video game tropes, and Ceres is a way for me to explore questions relating to how “legitimate” power and authority are often presented as “feminine” in many fantasy-themed games.
In any case, I’m writing Ceres as a horrible dramatic bitch, and I love her.
A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.