Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


Here’s a sight to stop your heart…a dragon’s head in the morning mist, rising above the tree tops. The swordsman looking up at it seems so tiny by comparison–this monster could easily eat him whole and use his sword as a toothpick afterwards. The headstone on the ground is not an especially good omen either. But heroes are made, not born, and legends are full of defeated dragons, so perhaps this brave warrior has some tricks up his sleeve.

Has he happened upon this dragon by chance? Or has he come prepared for the challenge? It’s up to you to decide his fate…

Dragon in the Woods_large

“Dragon in the Woods” by Simon Fetscher

 

Mystery, Magic, and Faith

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In Journey to Aviad, Elowyn carries a little satchel with her initial on it that Morganne had made for her—it’s full of herbs meant to ward off evil. This was a common thing to do in the Middle Ages, as certain plants were thought to fend off everything from demons and witches, to just plain bad luck. Medieval people lived in a world full of danger and mystery, which was very often explained with superstitions.

The pervasive thought was that there were two kinds of magic. Black magic was demonic, and therefore harmful. Magic of this sort was feared and avoided, and was used to explain accidents, unknown illnesses, and other tragedies. White magic was supposedly based on the power of nature (God’s Creation). Using charms, talismans, and spells, performing sunrise rituals while sowing crops, or reciting incantations while weaving fabric, are just a few examples of white magic. The study of astrology and alchemy fell into this category as well.

The Church disapproved of them all, but pre-Christian paganism was still very much embedded in Medieval culture and had intertwined itself with Christianity. Folk-beliefs, like the belief in fairies for example, was everyday common sense in places like the British Isles—and had been for hundreds of years. Local priests could not convince people otherwise and eventually gave up trying, despite sharp pressure from the Catholic Church.

It’s easy to see how the medieval period lends itself so well to fantasy literature, which often relies on various forms of magic to add intrigue and to move the story. I have included some of these elements in my series for the sake of flavor and authenticity, like Elowyn’s little bag of herbs and the superstitions held by the people of Minhaven. But since I am writing Christian fiction, I have been very careful about the way I handle magic so that there is a true distinction between what is demonic, what is divine, and what is merely misguided belief. Hopefully my readers noticed that when Elowyn gave away her little bag of herbs, she did not seek to replace it with another. It was a small milestone on her journey to spiritual maturity, as she replaced her belief in the empty “magic” it contained, with a much stronger faith in Aviad and His ability to protect her.

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Elowyn was convinced that by removing the coin so soon after the man’s brutal death, she had somehow interfered with his ascension into the afterlife, causing his spirit to appear before her in the night. How else could she explain it? He had sought her out from beyond the dead, and pointed directly at the pouch that held the coin. It was quite obviously an object not meant for her to keep, and it had to be returned at the proper time of day.

Elowyn knew very little about the workings of magic, but it was common knowledge that the rites of good magic were most effective at sunrise. That was usually when cures were tried, when newly planted crops were blessed, and when pilgrims to the shrines petitioned their most desperate prayers. Nearly any ritual of importance, even the harvesting of garden herbs, was best performed at sunrise. If she did not make it before then, she would have to wait another day, and perhaps risk another terrifying vision in the night.

~ from Chapter 2, Journey to Aviad

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


Beautiful, yet forlorn, this place is slowly succumbing to the ravages of time. The lonely figure walking this crumbling corridor is determined to remain its companion to the very end. It was a glorious place once, built by a wealth and power that has long ebbed away. But when this structure was new, and whole, it gave the lives of those within it meaning and purpose. This robed figure has not forgotten, even though its noble arches are now draped in vine, and the crows brazenly come and go as they please. There is writing etched deep into the stones beneath the pillars. Each word is a plea from the past; a silent but unyielding voice that demands a place in the present. The robed figure knows what they say. Do you?

Crows’ Abbey

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


No one had been here for hundreds of years. The narrow mountain road that had once wound its way up to the top of the peak now had wide and unstable gaps. He had taken the path as far as he could, but to get to the entrance of the ancient castle, the only way up was a grueling climb. The doorway he was trying to reach was still some distance upward, and he’d barely made it to the ledge he was on. His muscles were weak, and he was cold and incredibly hungry. The final leg of his climb would have to wait for morning.

He had no idea what would be waiting for him inside the structure once he got to it. The people who had once lived here were mysterious and reclusive. Rumors swirled about the strange powers and abilities they were said to have possessed. The greatest mystery was what had become of them. What would he find once he made his way inside? And could he manage to get the answers he sought without sharing their fate?

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


The lands had not always been this way…dry and barren. The trail of sand he now followed had once been a swiftly flowing river, the cliffs around it covered with brush and trees. Birds and other animals had nested there. Now nothing did. Most of the animals were gone–there was no way for them to survive. The people were gone, too, forced further and further away from the place that had once been their home. Even the lands that still grew lush and green were shrinking by the year. Something had to be done to stop this slow death, which had all begun with a terrible mistake. The answer was here, where the blight had begun. And he was determined to find it… 

Unknown title and artist

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


The waters were surprisingly calm as our ship entered the Sacred Sea–the place where many of us were eventually destined to go. It wasn’t my time just yet, but my friend was on the ship ahead of us and I was there to see her off. Though I would miss her terribly, I could not grudge her good fortune when I saw the pure joy in her eyes.

As her ship approached the center of the Sea, ripples of cloud formed in a circle above it. From the center of the circle, a bright light broke through the darkening sky, out-shining the stars and what was left of the setting sun. It was a portal to another world…another time, perhaps. There were plenty of tales of what lie on the other side–of shining cities, and lush fields and forests. Wealth and beauty beyond imagining. But no one really knew for sure. What was on the other side would always be cloaked in mystery, for no one who went through it ever came back. Yet it had always been this way, since the beginning, that on the last day of each year, a ship would be sent with the lucky chosen. New lives awaited them on the other side.

The ship began to rise, creaking and groaning as it lifted just above the water, then higher and higher into the air. Those of us watching looked on with awe. What was awaiting our loved ones on their journey into the sky? And what would we find on our appointed day to follow? 

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


She hurried along the path, carrying nothing more than what could hang from her belt or fit in the satchel strapped to her back. She dreaded the long, lonely, and dangerous journey that was surely ahead of her, yet she had no choice. Sighing heavily, she dared to look back one last time at what she was leaving behind. The castle that had been her home looked so beautiful sitting there, perched on a throne of rock and greenery. Such a peaceful scene, with the spring flowers waving to her on a gentle breeze, and the blue of the distant mountains blending into the depths of the sky.

But the serenity of the castle’s surroundings belied the turmoil building within its walls–the ravings of a king slowly succumbing to madness, and the treacherous whisperings of power hungry nobles. There was something else too…a moving shadow that lurked in the bowels of the castle. She had caught glimpses of its movements from the corners of her eyes, and caught whiffs of its scent. Pain…death…malice. Perhaps it was the shadow that was causing the king’s madness, she did not know. She only knew that she had to get away from it–away from him. She hoped one day to return with the power to save him–to save them all. But the road ahead loomed more with uncertainty than promise. Would she survive the journey and find the cure she sought, or would all be lost?

Castle by Mateusz Michalski