Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Father Phobetor, Prophet of the Emperor

Father Phobetor led his flock from their humble world of Nestoria IV on a pilgrimage the shrine world of Cyrial, home of the Reliquary of St. Tomas the Disciple of our glorious Emperor. The Reliquary of St. Tomas is a wonder to behold; as the planet is entirely covered in water. However, every fifty decades, the water drains while the Reliquary simultaneously rises from the waters--it is truly a majestic sight to behold!

Father Phobetor led the largest congregation of the Imperial cult on Nestoria IV, its members ranging from Hive Mayors and their hangers on to the lowliest abhuman street-urchin. Always by his side was his blood-son, Ursalax, providing counsel and and assistance to his father's many daily tasks. In fact, it was Ursalax' idea to to take the congregation on the pilgrimage to the Reliquary of St. Tomas. 

On the day of the pilgrimage, Father Phobetor gathered with those of his parishioners who could manage the pilgrimage about the ship Blessedful Reunion to leave Nestoria IV, who were likely never to return from their trip of faith due to the long travel time. But those that could go, gathered their belongings and supplies to begin their voyage. 

At first, the intergalactic travel was peaceful. But after making the warp jump, strange things started happening. Who can say how long they were in the warp before the ships' passengers began to notice something was amiss (for time does not flow normally within the warp)? But notice it they did; things began to disappear or move on their own volition, strange noises were heard, and an unsettling feeling of dread was felt by many on board. More than voyager began to think the that pilgrimage was cursed.

At some point, again who can say when, their ship crashed into a space hulk. Most aboard did not survive the impact as the shock-waves of such a massive collision flowed from the point of contact through the vessel. Unbeknownst to the survivors, they had entered the Gyre. 

In the beginning, the survivors banded together under Father Phobetor, who's spiritual guidance provided a calming affect. But, much like the trip itself, seeds of doubt began to creep in to their minds. As food and other supplies began to run scarce, these seeds began to blossom. 
This forced Father Phobetor's hand and he was forced to send scouting parties further into the hulk, past the points of comfort, in search of sustenance. It ones on one of these sorties that a previously unseen antechamber was found; and within was life where life did not seem possible. Vines covered every wall. And on these vines grew fruit, similar to the ancient Terran kokonaut. The flesh of this fruit was hard and inedible, but the hollows in the center contained a milk that provided necessary hydration.

As more an more of the area was reconnoitered, the explorers noticed a variety of fungal-like growths. As hunger began to set in and no other food source in sight, the fears of consuming the unknown fungus dissipated. 

The first to try it entered had new worlds of their minds opened up. But more importantly, it provided adequate sustenance. News of this was brought back to Father Phobetor with delight. After eating some himself, he entered a trance-like state one hundred forty four terran-hours (assuming the the chronometers were working correctly). After waking, Father Phobetor declared the fungus to be a sacrament from the Emperor himself as the Him on Terra had visited him during his trance and directed the entire congregation to partake in it as it would feed their bodies and minds. 

Father Phebetor even devised new methods to consume the fungus; it could be crushed into a powder and heated over a flame to create a gas. While the gas did not fill the belly, it did open the mind. Soon, everyone was connected to tanks of the gas in order to be in constant communion with the Emperor. 

Everyone, that is, but Ursalax. Ursalax felt uneasy and feared that his father was breeding heresy. One night, after a particularly boisterous sermon, Ursalax spoke to his father about his concerns. He was unprepared for his father's anger. After Ursalax finished his peace, Father Phobetor launched himself at his son in a blind range. After tackling Ursalax, Phobetor pulled a knife from his robes--his ceremonial knife he used to cut the fungus, and began stabbing his son until all life fled the body. 
When his rage subsided, Phobetor looked upon his sinful work and wept. But he also had to work fast to dispose of the body, before any of the parishioners saw it. Phobetor carve up his son's body, but when he severed the head something strange happened. Ursalax' eyes opened and he began to speak to Phobetor. Phobetor knew this was the voice of the Emperor and rejoiced. Soon, the head of Ursalax was whispering the word of the Emperor and Phobetor obeyed...

This guy has been sitting on my desk to be painted for a long, long time. The picture below was taken in March of 2018! When I dreamed him up (pun intended), I wanted him loosely based on the Sandman.

I attached a Necron spine to a Secret Weapon Miniatures Gas Mask Head and put them on an Empire Wizard body. The arm holding the severed head is from one of the Shadespire Khorne Warriors. But I also wanted to throw in a reference to the other Sandman from DC comics, Wesley Dodds, so I used a GorkaMorka mutie pistol (I think that's what it was anyway) with plastic and brass rod.

Work In Progress from over a year ago!
I wanted to continue the washed out and ethereal feel I was going for when I did his compatriot Grimm Grimmson. So I zenithally primed him, using Vallejo brown primer as the shadow color and bone primer as the highlight. Initially, I attempted to apply a thin layer of Scale 75 Abyssal Blue to the clock, but it was way too opaque and basically removed all the preshading I had done with the brown tones. In an attempt to salvage the cloak while still maintaining the thematic style, I decided to paint the cloak with a galaxy on it. This was surprisingly easy to do, thanks to a great YouTube video I found from Next Level Painting: How to Paint Galaxy Patterns

Now that I knew not to use Abyssal Blye, I glazed the inner cloak with several very thin layers of GW Screamer Pink, but on in the recesses.  After that was dry, I repeated in the deepest recesses with GW Druchi Violet, also thinned pretty heavily. His hands were painted with a mix of GW Rakarth Flesh and Pallid Wych Flesh, which was washed Druchi Violet+Reikland Flesh Shade, and then highlighted with more Pallid Wych Flesh.

For his mask, I glazed straight over the primer with very thin layers of GW Dryad Bark, and that was it. The eye lens were painted like gems using GW Incubi Darkness and the base, with Black and White used to highlight and shade them.

The gun was painted with several layers of Liquitex Silver ink, which was washed with thinned Tamiya Smoke and, after that was dry, various pigments were applied to simulate heat burn (even though it is a gas gun). Finally, the base was done by stippling layers of GW Skrag Brown, Liquitex Silver Ink, and Vallejo light and dark slimy green on it.