It Figures: Petekris El

Because in the end, you need to show, not tell

Most weeks on this blog begin with a Miniature Monday; I hope the ideas and pictures here will be useful to fellow authors and entertaining to readers.


PetE2I’m pleased to show you Petekris El- but I’m not sure why. The albino beast-handler is one of the chief members of the Scarlet Contra, a band of noble sons turned highwaymen, who figure in the action shown in The Plane of Dreams. In the Argensian Empire, elven noble-sons often have to wait a century or more to take up their inheritance. Boredom can lead to reckless ventures and scandal, sometimes to deadly feuding. But one conspiring nobleman, T’pelh sit Trans’r  gathered a band of such impatient youths and organized them into a gang, preying on wealthy caravans and nearly paralyzing trade in the central portion of the Empire.

Trilien took him for a horned demon on first sight. See The Plane of Dreams

Petekris El, born the illegitimate son of a knight, has paper-white skin that weighed against him from the start. Exiled to the stables and farms, he discovered an uncanny ability to deal with animals, training them easily, but never forgetting his father’s abandonment. Carrying a grudge against everyone he met, Petekris became a living self-fulfilling prophecy, a pariah who delved into crime and worked with wild beasts and even monsters. When Trans’r recruited him, Petekris El– dazzled that a twice-contracted nobleman would pay him such court– gladly gave his allegiance to the Scarlet Contra.


This is my first attempt to show a villain figure. Petekris El is nowhere near the most powerful, or oldest opponent the heroes of the Lands have faced, and certainly not the wisest. He gets what he deserves in the end, so happiness is also out. And yet… something PetE4always spoke to me about the albino bastard son. Not pity, but an interesting dynamic about acceptance. He found no home among the law-abiding, but he wasn’t embraced even by his fellow rogues. His pasty skin and bizarre association with animals removed him from easy company with humankind, and it showed. When El was captured, the bard Saling’r was able to play him like a lyre, sensing El’s rage over his noble father’s rejection and exploiting his reckless pride in being a member of the Contra. With them he was a boss of sorts, leading raids and commanding garruk-thann and other robbers; in short, acting more the nobleman than he ever had before. His murderous arrogance, his bizarre values placing monster over man, and his unquestioning loyalty to the gang all seemed to make perfect sense to me.

But I never in a million years expected to see his figurine. It just goes to show what marvels the sculptor Ral Partha was able to perform on a regular basis. In my younger days, teaching at private boarding schools, my salary was very modest but almost entirely my PetE-closeown (room and board already paid). One weekend while perusing the racks at The Compleat Strategist in New York City, I saw him there and instantly recognized the villain, like some kind of mug shot in reverse. Mine. Oddly, the beast that came with him was not one I ever saw. But then, when the party overcame the Contra there were fires breaking out everywhere including the subterranean warrens that had been El’s domain before his death. Perhaps it perished. But I imagine that creature, and who knows how many others, might have broken free and are still roaming the nearby Drelvewood.

The hounds, though large, are quite typical of the beast that El could master (he must have PetE-houndshad three dozen or more of a life-threatening variety). The garruk-thann shown below has the right size and proportions, but his skin is way too light. I wanted to show the nearly human musculature and was not too accomplished with shading my paints.


I tried to create spookier light conditions by turning on fewer lamps in the room, but nothing worked. PetE-GTSo I flooded it again (and turned the flash off). You really need rain and fog and twilight to appreciate the approach of the albino and his menagerie. I think I was able to get a slice closer to the subject by carefully adjusting the other settings. But there is still fuzz, which galls me. I took more time with the contrast and brightness settings in MS Picture Manager and think I brought out some of the detail a bit better. Backgrounds were suddenly more pink, for a reason I cannot fathom. Maybe next time I’ll work the color settings in PM.

All feedback gratefully accepted! More backstory? Advice about how to shoot better?



2 thoughts on “It Figures: Petekris El

  1. lovely figurine. It must have been quite the surprise stumbling over him like that. Do you want me to put the two evil creatures in a moody picture? I could replace the background with something more suitable. The lighting on he figures would of course be slightly off but it might be an interesting result. 😉

    1. Wow, Cat, that sounds like fun! Go for it I’ll be delighted to see the results, and probably will post them.

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