Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gods of Men

Those who Assert their Godly Majesty
Fantasy equal: Zeus

Thanks to today’s cosmetic and digital technology, images that convey some sort of mythical, godly or supernatural ability grace our magazines and websites with their magnificence. Given the rights tools, models and props I would absolutely love to direct my own series of photo shoots; themes like the Ancient Greek Pantheon, Men of the World (dudes showcasing different countries and cultures), Men of various Fantasy Races and Classes, Men tainted/blessed with a natural element, Men depicted with an animal companion... the list is endless.

Finding a fantasy match for this collection is an easy task. Zeus has no equal and can be seen as the God of Gods. He is the Father of the Greek pantheon, exudes power and majesty and is the leader of the almighty Mount Olympus.

This collection depicts images of men I perceive to be godly either by means of their physique, a graceful pose or thanks to a mythical theme.

“Zeus in Greek mythology is the king of the gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus and the god of the sky and thunder. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.”

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Riders of Far Horizons

Those who Hail from the Wild Westlands

Fantasy equal: Rohirrim

The earth trembles as the Rohirrim charges down the grassland slopes of Rohan. You and your comrades are in pursuit of a band of orcs who caused havoc in your country over the last few days. You are hot on their trail. Few can escape the speed and force of the horsemen of Rohan.

They are in sight. The captian signals to follow the crescent moon formation. The riders on the farthest sides immediately sprint forward. Those next to them follow and soon the battalion forms a crescent moon. Where the captain once was in front, he now finds himself riding at the back; at the moon formation’s point of symmetry.

Almost in unison the riders retrieve their spears and steady the spearheads ahead of themselves. The orcs have noticed they are being hunted down by now and start to scatter. The moon formation engulfs those caught in its deadly grip. The orcs cry out in fear and agony as they get trampled and impaled by steady spears. With the first wave complete, the Crescent Moon formation transforms into two separate wing formations. Both wings swerve around to change direction in pursuit of those who managed to escape.

You and a comrade charge after a trio of orcs who are fleeing towards Fangorn forest. You throw your spear at one of the orcs; direct hit between his shoulders blades and he topples towards the ground. The other two have reached the border of the forest and disappear under the veil its canopy throws over the earth.

As fast as you can the two of you dismount your trusty steeds, tie their reigns against a tree trunk and start tracking the orcs by foot. Darkness creeps into the world around you as you and your comrade wander deeper and deeper into the dense Fangorn forest. You have lost the tracks of the orcs, it’s as if they’ve been engulfed by the great oak where their tracks seize. You shrug your shoulders and speak...

“This final pursuit seems to have been in vain. I wouldn’t be surprised if the forest engulfed the orcs, the one type of creature they have no mercy for. I suppose we’ll have to find refuge here somewhere. Night has transformed the forest and the trees are moving. We should find a place to rest, out of reach of the Shepherds of the Forest. They may just stumble upon us and mistake us for orcs. It would be suicide to venture back in this darkness.”

“We are ill prepared to spend the night here. We left our gear on the backs of our steeds. I agree though, we can’t venture back. We made a grave mistake to enter this forest in the first place. Let’s see if we can find some place that looks safe. We can’t venture forth with the risk of being trampled by a mighty ent,” says your comrade. Thorne is his name.

You and Thorne stumble forward over entanglements of branches and roots. The earth you tread on suddenly descends down what seems to be a slope. You lose your balance and grab at Thorne. Soon both of you tumble down the slope. You find yourselves now almost shrouded in darkness. You feel the earth, trying to find Thorn as you ask whether he is alright.

“I am indeed”, he replies with a nervous chuckle. “You can let go of my thigh now.”

You didn’t realize you’re groping his leg. You feel blood rushing to your face. Luckily he can’t see you blushing.

“This is our bed for this evening; better make yourself as comfortable as you can. Stay close, we better huddle together, it is gonna be a cold one,” Thorne says.

You thought he was pulling your leg as he moves closer to sit against you. You can feel him trembling and bravely you stretch out your arm over his shoulder. You hold your breath as you draw him closer... he accepts and presses his head against your shoulder and wriggles his arm towards a cavity between your lower back and your weathered cloak. He grips your side tightly. He must be freezing.

You sit still, somewhat uncomfortable but it’s worth it. You smell his dark wavy hair and find comfort in the steadiness of his breathing, which seems to be returning to normal as he is no longer trembling. You divert your thoughts from survival instinct and focus on the man at your side. He lives alone on the outskirts of the village. He is a cattle farmer and renowned for his hunting skills. Many a seasons you and a few others have set out hunting with him. He must have some Elven blood in his veins, as he is a crack-shot with a bow. You wonder how his body looks like beneath the layers of cloth and leather... what his blade looks like as well. You let your blade grow as your thoughts conjure a fantasy. It creates some warmth, which is good.

As you almost finish removing his clothes with your thoughts, Thorne twists his body further towards you as though to lay his torso down on your lap. You are dumb-struck. He rests his shoulder on your lap. You can’t keep your blade from throbbing, which Thorne feels lurking below. He lifts his torso and peers at you with a puzzling expression on his face, which you notice in the darkness. You feel ashamed and revert your sight from his questioning eyes. What to do? What should you say?

He responds in your stead; “Do you... are you...” He pauses and neither of you say something in the uncomfortable silence. After what seemed forever to you, he moves closer and lightly and hesitantly kisses you on the mouth, as to tell you it is okay, he likes you as well. You smile and he returns the gesture. Thorne stands up and sits down close and right in front of you. He steadily wraps his strong legs around you before tugging at yours in suggestion of doing the same. You follow his lead. He wraps both your cloaks around you in order to form a tent, which now covers you both from head to toe.

Thorne now wraps his arms around you and gives you a firm hug.

“I’ve wanted to do this for so long now; being with a man. I’ve spent many long years alone in my cabin. I have friends, wonderful folks, but no one to love. Truly love. I didn’t know how to go about finding that special friend. Camaraderie in this sense is frowned upon, not only by our culture, but the whole of Middle-earth. I have not even heard of a same sex relationship. Here, in Fangorn Forest of all places, I may just have found that special friend. Who knows? Maybe something special can grow from this. What say you, master horseman?” Thorne says.

You sense the confused excitement in his tone of speaking. You know exactly what he means, for you lead the same path as he does.

“The words you speak are true. I too am lonely and confused. I have spent many a days wondering whether my feelings and urges are natural and whether there is someone out there who has them as well. All my friends are taking wives. Even though I don’t really want to, I decided I need to as well, since society dictates it. I wouldn’t mind doing some of the wifey chores,” you say chuckling a bit, “in the prospects of having someone like you around. I’m glad it’s you; a person that could share my... quest for camaraderie.”

With that said, you go in for the kill and kiss Thorne long and hard, gasping for air now again. Neither of you know what you’re doing, yet it is glorious! The smell of his hair and skin is alluring. The roughness of your beard grinding against his is enticing. And the warmth and the taste of his mouth is inviting. Neither of you can see anything, which heightens your senses of touch, smell and taste. You start delving your hands into and underneath his leather armour. You thoroughly enjoy the roughness of the hair on his torso and then move your hands to his smoother armpit hair. You can’t wait for when one of you dare to go beyond...

This then concludes our tale of the riders who found each other in the dark and treacherous forest of Fangorn. Some sort of horseman is the obvious choice as the fantasy connection of the rugged cowboy collection. Tolkien created the human race/culture of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings. They have the most skilled horsemen and most powerful horses in all of Middle-earth. There are two main male characters from Rohan; Theoden and Eomer whom could be the sole fantasy collection. We’ll go for the term ‘the Rohirrim’ instead however, which is the collective name of the whole of the Rohirric cavalry.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, the Rohirrim were a horse people, settling in the land of Rohan, named after them. The name is Sindarin for People of the Horse-lords (sometimes translated simply as Horse-lords) and was mostly used by outsiders: the name they had for themselves was Eorlingas, after their king Eorl the Young who had first brought them to Rohan.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Demons of the Underworld

Those Condemned to Forsaken Darkness

Fantasy equal: Hades

Beneath layers of clothing you would find the Underworld of the male body. At the heart of the Underworld, at its deepest, darkest chasm, dwells an evil Demon of tremendous power.

With the passing of each day, the Demon awakes from his slumber at its master’s bidding to pour his malice on the outside world. This ritual happens frequently, but only for short instances of time. When darkness creeps onto the outside world, however, a different ritual is performed. A Sacred Ritual performed either alone or along with a fellow master and his demon. The demon craves for these hallowed rituals; when his state is continuously exalted and when reaching its climax, pours malevolence of a different sort.

This collection is dedicated to those masters who have managed to contain their demons with a final layer of defence. In Ancient Greek terms, the Underworld is ruled by the Greek God of Darkness, Hades. Where Hades has dominion over shades entering the Underworld, so do you have dominion over your demon.

Shades are judged as they pass though the Underworld, where they are either forever banished to its dark chasms, or gain passage to glorious Fields of Elysian. Let us hope your demon doesn’t share the same fate as the bad Greeks of ancient times.

“In Greek mythology, Hades and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated the Titans and claimed rulership over the universe ruling the underworld, sky, and sea, respectively; the land was given to all three concurrently. Because of his association with the underworld, Hades is often interpreted as a grim figure.”