“Arioch! Arioch! Blood and souls for my lord Arioch!”

Continuing the year of Pop Culture, I figured I’d dip in the world of Fantasy Literature; a genre that grabbed me tightly as a kid and has never once let go.

Of all of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion material (and there’s a shitload of it), the only tales I read were his Elric stories. I just reviewed the chronology, and it seems I’ve read most of the main sequence of tales up until the end; but I didn’t read much of Moorcock’s later Elric works that took place at uncertain points in the main timeline. I have a weird relationship with Elric of Melnibone. I read the stories at an age where I didn’t have the maturity to fully appreciate them. I recall loving almost everything about the character of Elric (albino sorcerer with a soul-sucking sword) but hating every story he was in. I found them incredibly boring. (I think I need to reread them, but I got rid of my old paperbacks a long time ago. I just found out they’re going for $75 bucks each on eBay. What the actual fuck?!)

Elric is by far the most famous of Moorcock’s characters; the original emo anti-hero. He was angst-ridden and emotionally tortured long before it was cool. He’s the disaffected prince of a dying race who sees the end coming and laments it. He’s a drug-dependent sorcerer who makes deals with demons because…why not? Eventually, he finds Stormbringer, a magical sword of great power that gives him vitality and formidable fighting skills and feeds upon the souls of its victims. Carrying a sword like that is never a good idea, and (spoiler alert) Stormbringer is ultimately responsible for the destruction of everything Elric cares about.

I’ve had this miniature for a long time. It was in one of the first orders I made when I got back into miniature painting around 12 years ago. Bronze Age had the John Carter stuff, so I added this figure to it and it’s sat there in the blister all this time. This is the “Elf Anti-Hero”. He (deliberately, I think) looks a bit like a certain albino Eternal Champion, so that’s who I painted him as.

As stated above, he’s also only one incarnation of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion archetype, which is so fucking confusing I’ll just reproduce what Wikipedia says about it here: (The Eternal Champion is…) an appointed paladin of Balance who is bound to exist in each and every world and age of the Multiverse, so that Law and Chaos are perpetually kept in check. There are about thirty different Eternal Champion characters, and I couldn’t give a shit about any of them. I get the feeling it’s probably somewhat incomprehensible, and although I would give Elric another go to see if my opinion has changed with maturity, I just don’t have the energy to really get into anything else. To be honest, looking at the sheer volume of characters and series, I’d have to be way more of a Moorcock fan than I am (which is to say not much) to even attempt it.

Still, the fact remains that Moorcock has influenced a lot of writers who have come after; and was a huge influence on the development of Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, the characters from Elric were originally included in the very first printing of Deities & Demigods, along with Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian entities, before Chaosium got the rights to both and put out their own games (Stormbringer and Call of Cthulhu, respectively).

He’s definitely pop culture, that’s for certain.

I’m trying to publish a bit more regularly; so if you are a casual visitor to Dead Dick’s Tavern, don’t be surprised to find more than one post waiting for you on your next visit. I make no promises about how long that will last; but for now I have a few things in the pipeline to get to. Up next is likely a return to the Enterprise-D, for what I hope will be the last prose post before I actually start the gaming part…

6 thoughts on ““Arioch! Arioch! Blood and souls for my lord Arioch!”

  1. Dave Stone

    Great work on your representation of the Eternal Champion Keith, the skin tone and hair really yell albino.
    Enjoying all your posts at the moment, and hope it continues, but understand how real world time constraints can stop the creative flow.

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      ALBINO!!!!! I actually have another “not-Elric”. He was made by RAFM once upon a time (the base says 1991) and he’s much smaller than this miniature. He’s also wearing plate and a helmet, looking more like typical depictions of the albino prince.

  2. Matt

    The Eternal Champion looks really good, Keith, the skin tone in particular is great especially as getting albino looking realistic is a pain in the bum. His choice of clothing is interesting… do black studded chaps make many appearances in fantasy fiction? LOL!

    I can’t get over those books being $75 each, you could buy a decent Kindle for less and the Eternal Champion ebooks are $7.99!

    1. The Angry Piper Post author

      Thanks, Matt. I find he’s a bit muscular for Elric, too; but it’s hard to believe Bronze Age meant to depict any other character with this miniature. The books I’m referring to are the silver cover Berkely paperback editions that came out in the 80’s. There are 6 of them IIRC. I just did a search on eBay to see if I was mistaken or if I just found a seller who was out of his mind, but no. There’s presently a copy of the first Berkley paperback (Elric of Melnibone) in “acceptable” condition listed for $55.00. That’s nuts.

  3. Azazel

    That’s a cool looking model and I love how well ol’Elric came out!
    It’s been years since I read any of those books. They were my brother’s. I wonder where they are now?

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