Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

‘THE ARCHMAGE ZORBULON’ – Part 3

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You feel that a stranger shouting at you in a foreign language is an act of hostility so foul that he deserves annihilation. The Free Races of Kwaydor (those various fantastical species that came to you for aid against an entity called The Dark Master) would surely be aghast at your reaction, which is to say they wouldn’t expect you to suddenly call down fire from the sky because a man raised his voice to you.

But they’re wrong to believe that you’re merciful (or indeed reasonable, at least today) and you channel your hatred into the first of the KILLING SPELLS OF GOOMBOLOR.

You raise your hands to this alien sky, calling upon the elements of creation to answer your arcane desires. The starjewel upon the Staff of Illik glows a lambent and fearsome purviolet, signifying the rise of immense power, which you feel in turn as a bubbling tickle in your bloodstream.

“What the shit?” cries the man in the chariot as the sky turns black. “Fucking hell!” he adds.

You unleash the gathered forces of the Elemental Lords upon the man and his metal chariot. As Goombolor’s Acidfire rains down from the sky like the tears of a mourning god, the man ducks back into his chariot and seeks to flee the scene. He’s immediately turned into unholy sludge as the sky-flames incinerate him and his unfriendly attitude, removing them from creation and perhaps depriving his children and lifemate of source of familial love and financial security. Or maybe both parents work, so they’ll ultimately be fine. Who knows how societal dynamics work on this world? If only there was someone you could ask.

What matters is that justice is done.

Unfortunately, in laying waste to this motherfucker, the collateral damage from the use of your formidable power has been somewhat immense. If this world has ghosts, as Kwaydor most certainly does, you’ve probably created a few right here.

Once the screams fade out with the last crispy fizzles of melting stone and barbecuing human flesh, you take stock of your situation.

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You stand at the edge of the village, which is now a crater in the tortured earth.

You suspect no scargoyles were harmed in the absolute wholesale slaughter of this village, which may be considered a bit of a swing and a miss for the blue team, if you really think about it.

There’s a tickle from beneath your hat as BARNABUS, your faithful familiar, wakes up! He climbs up your hat, stretches his little dragon wings, and stares at the vista of pure, undiluted destruction.

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“Yikes,” he says. “Well, whatever happened here, I’m sure it was justified.”

You feel warmed by his endless belief in your righteousness. Then he adds, “Have you got any breadcrumbs? I’m super-hungry, chief.”

July 24, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 9 Comments

‘THE ARCHMAGE ZORBULON’ – Part 2

 

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You go NORTH along the road towards the DWELLINGS.

You see no sign of the scargoyles. That isn’t great. You aren’t attacked by monsters from ambush, though. That, at least, is pretty cool.

Soon enough, you stand on the threshold of what seems to be a small village. The houses are made from stone. The road is populated by horseless chariots of base metal. You recognise none of this culture’s doings; whatever race claims this realm as its homeland has developed technology along entirely different branches to those of the Kwaydorian Free Races.

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What manner of tribe dwells here?

As you ponder the intellect level of this village’s tribe, a dinosauric roar rushes at you from behind. You leap to the side, just in time to avoid being struck by the racing form of a horseless road-chariot.

The craft skids to a halt up ahead, and its driver leans out of the vehicle’s side, eyeing you with an angry glare. He shouts as he shakes his fist, and offers you the first words you’ve heard spoken thus far on your great adventure.
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“FUCK YOU, YOU BLUE MICKEY MOUSE BATHROBE SHITFACE DICKSPLASH.”

What do these words mean? They’re screamed in a language you can’t understand, despite possessing mastery of every Kwaydorian tongue on your homeworld. He seems annoyed, which is pretty fucking uppity seeing as he’s the one that nearly ran you over just now.

What do you do, mighty archmage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 13 Comments

‘THE ARCHMAGE ZORBULON’ – Part 1

You are the ARCHMAGE ZORBULON.

As First Wizard-Lord/Lady Prime of the BER SHINGLEY TOWER, your powers are great indeed. Mastery over the elements? Yes. Command of the weak-minded? Absolutely. The ability to manipulate time and space? Mhm, that too.

WAR HAS COME to the realm of KWAYDOR. The FREE RACES – elves and dwarves and whatever – have come to you, beseeching you for aid. “Help us, Great Lord/Lady” they cry.

With the rise of the DARK MASTER in a cardinal direction that categorically doesn’t imply the evil forces are analogous to a real world culture, the Free Races are forced to retreat night and day, beaten back from their freeholds and strongholds and dwarfholds and other locations of that nature.

They turn to you for salvation, for only you have the magical, mystical, sorcerous power to end the Dark Master’s reign of tyranny. You have the STAFF OF ILLIK, the ROBES OF THE FIRST WIZARD-LORD/LADY PRIME, and the LANTERN OF THE SUN GOD.

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You are a great man/woman.

On the eve of battle, however… disaster strikes! You are betrayed! Shit!

One of your apprentices opens the tower-top battlement windows to minions of the GREAT ENEMY. Scargoyles, their stony hides forged of the very purest Dark Elementium, infiltrate Ber Shingley under cover of darkness. They delve deep into your sanctum, thieving away the SACRED JEWELS OF VORLAMAR.

Dawn rises over a bleak and hopeless day. Without the Sacred Jewels, what hope do the Free Races have? Those jewels were so important. And now a pack of scargoyles has escaped with them, fleeing through the MANY MISTS OF REALITY. Those cunts!

Your only choice is to give dignified chase, through gentlemanly magic rather than running like a peasant.

Reluctantly, you open a portal to pursue the foul creatures. Where will you emerge? What realms lie within the Many Mists of Reality?

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Part 1: Arrival from Kwaydor

You (Zorbulon) emerge from the portal into a green, lush land. What world is this? You simply don’t know. You see dwellings on the horizon, suggesting intelligent life. You see trees, suggesting leaves and photosynthesis and stuff. The air smells quite nice. Fresh. You suspect this is no city. It seems more like the countryside.

A ROAD runs to the NORTH and SOUTH. Behind you is the MYSTICAL PORTAL, which closes as you bear witness. You possess the Staff of Illik, the Robes of the First Wizard-Lord’Lady Prime (hat included), and the Lantern of the Sun God even though it’s not illustrated above. You also have GOLD COINS x15 and TRAIL PROVISIONS x3.

Your HUNGER STATUS is: Fine, actually.

What do you do?

July 17, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Maps and Apps

John French was over last weekend, for one of the hobby/work weekends we try to get in twice a year. This essentially evolved (devolved?) into what it always becomes, which is to say we spent most of the time discussing our current novels and working through various plot zigs and character zags.

He drew me a map to explain one of the narrative points he was making about the novel I’m working on right now, which is just supremely, beautifully ugly. Bonus points for doing it in chalk on one of our Deathwatch wound marker slates.

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In other news, I did a free five-part short story for the Warhammer app this week, with one vignette going live every day. If you’re hankering for a little look in at what Talos, Cyrion, Malcharion and co. were doing when the Horus Heresy kicked off (and if you like free stuff) then download the Warhammer app and give it a look on either iOS or Android.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a map to follow.

If I can remember how to read it.

July 13, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Road to Jove: New Site & Patreon Page

Ladies, gents, and Keltoi battle-automatons. The day is here.

The Road to Jove has its plush new website and a Patreon page, complete with Milestones, Rewards, and a teaser video done in a crackling, corrupted, post-apocalyptic “recording from the 1920s” feel which (thanks, David) I’m dead happy with.

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The 14 pages of the prologue are already up on the new site, and the first page of Chapter One: Black Feathers starts on Monday.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well, here’s all you need to know about the Road, and the story so far.

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The Prince of Crows

 

Sevatar, as a child on Nostramo – by Disarmonia, on DA. Oh, man. I get spoiled in terms of reader art already, but it’s been incredible recently. I adore this.

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Flesh, flesh, flesh, the crows cawed.

Jago dropped the dead boy’s ankles and sat down, catching his breath.

Flesh, he replied. Save me some, he said to the birds as they flocked down onto the corpse.

Yes, Boy, they kept cackling. Yes, yes, yes. Save some for Boy.

You can have the eyes, he told them. I don’t like the eyes.

They croaked crow laughter at this oldest of jokes between them. They knew the Boy never ate the eyes. He’d tried once, and the meal had made him see things. The Boy bled sweet man-blood from his nose and ears for hours, and slept all night, twitching on the stone.

 

 

 

 

June 1, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Khayon & The Anamnesis

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By OutlandIdol, on DeviantArt.

Wow. Seriously in love with this.

Thanks to everyone that linked it to me on various forums and FB groups, and anyone that commented on it on FB with spoilers is now my enemy.

May 28, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

A Tale of Five Heretics: Eddie Remains Eddie-ish.

Good news and bad news, my pretty chickens. The good news is that I just about have a new office now, after many hours of construction work, ballache, and cash money. It’s taken a long time, but the Aaronorium has gone from one room (a games room) to three (a games room, an office, and… I guess another games room).

The whole thing is basically a series of braced and insulated wooden rooms constructed inside a previous structure: the latter of which takes the form of these old linked farm sheds, which used to hold cows, mud, dust, mould, and the skeletons of five million dead birds. Perhaps even their ghosts, too. I lacked the requisite equipment to check for bird souls trapped between this life and the next.

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Here’s a photo of me in a storm of rock dust, just after we finished grinding through the wall between the second and third rooms.

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I’ll give you guys and girls a proper tour inside when it’s decorated in a week or two, but at least the fucker’s built.

Anyway, the bad news isn’t that I’m using all the construction work as an excuse for no progress. No, the lack of progress was because I’m me, and I’m eternally useless. I painted half of 3 World Eaters that I didn’t like, half of 1 Thallax that was too dark and which I hated, and built 4 Tau Stealth Suits (5 tau models in total if you count the marker drone – and let me assure you, you bastards, that I do. I take every teeny-tiny victory that I can.)

No, the bad news is that I had to sell a huge amount of my Heresy (and Blood Angels / Angels Numinous) stuff to recover from the financial ball-flicking of all the construction work. A treasure trove of bits, kits, and every bolter variant you can imagine, into the aether. It’s set me back no small degree, as well as being about as heartbreaking as the time I hocked all my RPG books on eBay to pay my rent for 3 months. That one still hurts. But needs must, right? Onwards and upwards.

Also my grandma died, and so did my car. But these events aren’t related, either to each other or to hobbying.

I’ve got a Myrmidon Destructor on my painting table at the moment, and he’s going to get some love in the next few days. I’ve also scavenged a chunk of Mechanicum models from here, there, and everywhere, so I may press-gang them into the firing line just to have something, anything, done – just to get myself going.

Either way, I’m down but not out. And it gives me an excuse to use the new Martian Ironearth, which looks lush. Anyone using that already? Reviews in the comments, please.

Rather than put the update off any more and wait for me and Neil to get our thumbs out, I wanted to show you what’s been done so far, because Jesus Christ, guys, for really reals, look:

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Jordan’s been learning/using airbrushes for the first time, with some smugness-inducing results. He was the first to Go Big on the new Space Marine bases, but we’ve all done the same as well. (I’ve got them on my XV25s, too. They look rad.)

He’s got a huge-ass Forge World order on the go for next time, which is beautiful in its promise of midnight-clad carnage:

fgfrgI always imagine Heresy Night Lords in Mark II, like, as the default image in my head, but the volkite squad up above has started swaying me towards Mark IV in a big way.

John’s been busy, too – he got his Blood Angel Command Squad done, with his next project already built:

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It’s sort of weird how effective the simple helmet swaps are, ageing the models back to an entirely different era. I dig that.

My first thought at seeing them was “Oh, shit, I should do that with my Angels Numinous Sanguinary Guard”, and my second thought was “Oh, shit, I sold all the Sanguinary Guard boxes and now I’m sad.”

My third thought was “Damn you for doing stuff when I’ve been useless, John”.

And my fourth thought was probably about basketball, because although the Phoenix Suns are a hot mess, I still love them.

Without further ado, here’s Eddie with some more Fallen Angels, many of which reach between the 30K and 40K eras in irritatingly cool ways. I’ve seen a fair bit of Heresy Traitor armies that can double as Chaos Marine armies, and I’m always pretty taken with the idea, especially given how much more common it’ll be as the Heresy advances towards Terra.

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These are the Iron Wardens of Aldurukh. Look upon them and despair.

No? Not enough for you?

Have some Fallen Angels Obliterators because Eddie was in the mood to do them:

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And then, one of the Iron Riders of Caliban:

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Sigh.

And in the man’s own words: “Those troublesome Dark Angels, left behind by the Lion on Caliban have been experimenting with forbidden Daemonology (when the cat’s away…)
So now, when they find themselves in a pickle, they can call in reinforcements on the fly (ba-dum-tish).”

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I think it needs expressing again that he does these, out of boredom, while waiting for the rest of us.

And lastly, there’s a Fallen Angel Lord on a daemonic Black Lion of Caliban.

This makes me think two things:

1. Imagine Lion El’Jonson’s face when he goes home and sees the Fallen Angels again. “Hey, Luther, how are you guy d– OhmyfuckingGod.”

2. Even for Eddie this is pretty damn magical.

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Update concluded, my lovelies.

More to come soon.

Late-Breaking Edit: Getting an unexpected expression of sympathy on FB and Twitter over the current impoverished state. Which is lovely! But honestly unnecessary. Yes, we’re currently dirt-poor, but it was a noble sacrifice that basically gave me a new office with two nice side rooms. Selling minis to cover a housing spending spree definitely sucks, but we’re not starving or homeless, so please don’t take my teeth-grinding confession of mini-selling as anything more than a hobbyist’s lament. (Plus, all the bitz went to good homes, so I’ll probably see a fair amount of those bitz shooting at me from across a table next year. Every cloud, silver linings, all that jazz. Thank you, though – what a surprisingly sweet reaction, you crazies.)

May 27, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Portugal 2015

House Dembski-Bowden recently got back from a trip to Portugal, which was a cross between beautiful, serene, a hellish skullfuck of being without decent wi-fi, and the easily imaginable chaos of a toddler in the middle of his toilet training.

D’you want some photos?

Tough shit. Here are some photos.

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Firstly, GO SUNS. Let’s just get that out of the way.

Here's a sea wall on a beach, to defend against, like... mermaids or whatever.

Here’s a sea wall on a beach, to defend against mermaids. Portugal’s capital is called “Lisbon”, which translates as “Besieged by clans of fish-people” in Old English.

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If you look closely along Portuguese beaches you can find mermaid bones among the rocky coastal defences. These can be sold to the government for cash money.

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This is an authentic picture of a human child looking ardently around the nearby landscape for the best spot to throw his next fucking tantrum.

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Cool sculptures line the road in the Sintra valley. Top scientists suspect this one is a metaphor.

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After the turbulent Fin Wars, the people of Portugal soon took to building their castles on top of mountains, not just to avoid the weaponized shrieks of the mermaid-queens, but also because it looked totally rad.

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This is a ceiling. Man, whoever owned this palace sure liked magpies.

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I’m smiling, but right after this photo I said “Stop drumming on my head, you little cunt.”

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I love you, Katie, but this photo is some wildly pretentious bullshit.

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Then we saw this little tower-castle-thing, which was great.

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It even had a tiny scale model of itself, which I wanted to steal and use as 40K scenery. I didn’t in the end, not because I’m a coward but because it was made from some kind of supernaturally dense stone that no mortal muscles could lift. That’s why.

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A Renaissance statue commemorating the great art of White People Dancing.

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Alexander Dembski-Bowden, sponsored by pop culture.

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Then we went to an aquarium, or an oceanarium, or whatever.

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Don’t look at me, you ugly bastard. YOU KILLED STEVE IRWIN.

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Yeah, that’s right. You better run.

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Shakes pauses for a brief prayer to some imaginary fish pantheon. No doubt thanking them for the teddy octopus we bought him, which he loudly and publicly decided to name… Mr. Octopussy.

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“Hello.”

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“Is that Dory?” Shakes asked 800 times. “Is that Dory? Is that Nemo? Where’s Dory? Is Nemo here?”

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Yes, Dory was there. I wonder how many aquarium staff worldwide curse that Goddamn movie. How often do they hear kids banging on about it?

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Nemo was similarly present.

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Ugh. This hideous bastard again.

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This is the smuggest, most self-satisfied frog I’ve ever seen. He knows things, this guy.

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I saw this enterprising little fellow just stuck on the glass, like a greasy green Tic-Tac, and I sort of wanted to eat him.

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This is a puffin.

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And this is a puffin’s anus. Did you know that “puffin” in Norwegian is “lundefugl”? Isn’t that the greatest word ever?

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This room, in one of the palaces, was historically known as the Grossly Overcompensating For Something chamber.

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“Yeah, no, let’s make a chandelier out of moose horns and deer heads. That won’t look tacky as shit at all.”

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EVEN THE CHAIRS, PEOPLE. EVEN THE CHAIRS.

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Look how tired this owl is.

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I don’t know what Rihanna is doing here.

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Here’s Shakes at the bottom of the Sintra Initiation Well, where the Knights Templar used to do Templarish things, like rob people and blame the Jews. I told Shakes there were goblins down in these tunnels, and when I tried to walk away alone he started crying, scared that “the bad guy goblins” would “get me”.

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I didn’t spit down on those people, I promise.

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Blah…

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…blah…

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…blah.

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Have you guys watched Daredevil, yet? How awesome is the Kingpin in it!? I love the way they’ve portrayed him with all that power stemming from deeper insecurities, like a monarch laid bare. Really great show.

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The library at the Mafra National Palace was absolutely breathtaking, in the most literal way. Very humbling. Very awesome.

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So naturally I imagined Space Marines on all the balconies shooting each other, because I bet the Siege of Terra looked a little like that.

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And last of all:

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[Sadly eats ice cream]

Katie took all of these pics. Well, except the Rihanna ones. I took those.

April 14, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Soon.

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March 31, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 15 Comments

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