I’ve had a story in the back of my head for years. It is inspired by work I did for #blkdragon*inn(an old mIRC roleplaying channel) on the nation of Elvendeep, my own education in history and classics, and my love for Jack Kirby comics. It has resulted in this drawing of Prince Legatrio and Orillion, the Dog of War.
Elvendeep was a treat to co-develop with my wonderful collaborators. Together we wrote of a misty pre-history of the world of Tiveth – one in which the Dawn Elves, Primordial Giants, and Ere Drakes emerged from knowledge beyond time. After the giants’ demise, the elves and dragons began warring on one another for centuries.
One idea I was able to develop was the idea of dynamic fantasy. That is, inspired by my own University degree and careers, I love the idea of fantasy worlds that develop along reasonable lines. In high fantasy, Tolkien in particular, you often get thousands upon thousands of year at a relatively stable level of technological development. I’d rather think that if something happened a thousand years prior to the setting, then it was at a time roughly equivalent to a thousand years before the middle ages on our world. Thus: a bronze age. Add to this the high fantasy idea of “ancient races” like dragons and elves. Thus: bronze age elves.
In Elvendeep’s history, the dragon-elf wars were in a bronze age before dwarves discovered steel. Many Elvendeepish families are so ancient that they have parade armour of bronze and trace their lineage (as well as they can, given the destruction of any records that may result from warring with dragons) back to these most ancient of times. Just like Rome traced its history from Troy.
So Legatrio and Orillion come out of this idea in the back of my head to tell a story of bronze age elves encountering stone age humans and coming into conflict with a dragon. An epic story with epic characters.
Recognize them yet?
I always thought the New Gods’ interactions with humans, with their pride and power, would be a good inspiration for how elves, even then more advanced, would view their human neighbours. Benevolently perhaps, but certainly paternally.
New Gods #6, “The Glory Boat”, is one of Kirby’s finest stories in one of his finest (albeit truncated) comics.
Also of great help was Peter Connolly’s illustrated Legend of Odysseus, a children’s book that was very formative for me and I recently re-purchased. This book included detailed archaeological descriptions of bronze age Mycenaean and Trojan history that informed its amazing illustrations. You’ll recognize Odysseus (centre-left) as the inspiration for Orillion’s armour, while Aeneas hide’ shield and Agamemnon’s tunic also played a role. Legatrio’s design was informed more by Eric Shanower’s Age of Bronze comic series, an attempt to reconcile all the various versions of the Trojan myth into one historical and dramatic account.
Legatrio’s chestpiece was also inspired by ancient Jewish priestly garments, most recognizably found in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.