Draw or Die is a daily challenge for online artists. For 21 days, the artist has 24 hours to produce a themed piece of art reflecting a prompt. If you miss one, you’re out.
In March of 2019, the organizers of the challenge presented a series of prompts that encouraged us to make a continuous story linking what we drew the day before to the new topic. Sometimes that meant making multiple images to bridge the narrative gap. The prompt, and the story pieces are included with each picture below.
I hope you enjoy the story!
Day 1: Typical Morning We start with a typical morning for my intrepid scholar, Lucian Augustus! Only a fool would believe that he slept at all the night before. The scholar’s mind has been plagued by nightmares as of late, and he does whatever it takes to keep himself from nodding off. Day 2: Hooded Figure Ah! Our dear Lucian easily spots the hooded figure that’s been stalking him during his daily field studies, thanks to his trusty robe of eyes! He bows as he wittily introduces himself to the odd character to save them the trouble of snooping, and grills them of their intentions for spying. “After my research, hmm?” “Oh no no, only to help, I have a lead on a local beast tribe that might peak your interests, Lucian.” Day 3: Gnoll Cave The Gnolls never take too kindly to trespassers upon their den. Luckily enough for Lucian, his queer scent of coffee beans and old books has them more intrigued than hungry. He keeps a nervous smile on this face as he speaks to the looming beasts before him. With his new hooded friend nowhere to be found, Lucian offers his services to the tribe in exchange for his own body to stay in one piece. “A scholar you say? Perhaps we can exchange stories.” Day 4: A Kiss of Thanks Lucian spoke with the Gnolls into the wee hours of the night, learning about their customs and various trivia in exchange for snippets of his scholarly “wisdom”. He wove tales of the vast cosmos and a sea so deep that even light could not reach. The den was enamored by his tales, and at the end of the night granted the young scholar the title of “Honorary Gnoll” and sent him on his way with a “kiss” of thanks and a promise of assistance were he to ever need it during his journey into the unknown. Day 5: Armoring Up ya know lacing up knee high converse is hard enough when you know how to tie your shoes. Lacking that ability it’s probably an absolute nightmare. Lucian may be grossly intelligent, but of the seemingly infinite knowledge the young scholar possesses, how to ties shoes is not one of them. The walk from the Gnoll cave and back to town is a bit of a jaunt. It’s only expected that one’s shoes could come undone once or twice on the way back. After cleaning the Gnoll spit out of his hair and donning his preferred field gear, He’s only minutes away from a meeting with the guild master. A renowned beast hunter who Lucian works under. He can’t find out, oh how embarrassing. Day 6: Something Evil This Way Comes “Well now, you don’t see something like that every day, do you?” shoes tied and meeting done, Lucian has been deployed with a party of hunters to scout out a nearby city. Rumors have been circulating about the city being overrun by ungodly creatures, and a crack in the sky! Just the sort of thing that piques Lucian’s interest, but oh, this may be more than he bargained for! Transition 6 to 7: Lucian takes to his notes and turns a blind eye to above Day 7: Evil From Above! Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to take notes on the inky black abomination bird and it has the audacity to try to kill you? The city is overrun with the things. Some can fly, some cant, but one thing is for certain, as long as that crack is open they are gonna keep coming. As the creature descended upon Lucian, he realized that it may not be a creature at all, but an amorphous mass of inky black fluid. Peppered with bone like structures that ever shifted to form claws and teeth and horns. And the eyes, oh, the EYES. So many and so vast, each burned with a white hot intensity And felt as though they could look right through Lucian’s very soul. Lucian brought up his right arm to defect the blow, but his skin was not spared. Bone white talons tore into his forearm, staining the white fabric of his shirt with deep red. It was then with the other hand that he summoned one of his weapons, a trusty ethereal great sword burst into existence in a flash of bright teal light just in time for its point to find its mark in the creatures (belly?) The two struggled in combat, every blow Lucian dealt dispersed the creatures form. It soon found itself to be no more than a writhing puddle beneath Lucian’s blade… Day 8: An Expeditious Retreat And writhe it did, as bits of the detached ink began to collect at the larger mass. (Even dripped from his sword and returned to whence it came) It was going to reform, and though a man of great curiosity, the need to preserve one’s own life comes first. (Can’t learn more if you’re DEAD!) To that, Lucian turned tail and fled. Alone he was an easier target, he needs to find the rest of his party, and he needs to do it quickly. Transition 8 to 9 Skidding around a corner, Lucian found his party. The Leader and eldest of the group, Verinen Crow, was shepherding the other three into a doorway that led to the labyrinth of catacombs beneath the city… In summary it ended with Lucian being thrown down the hole by his shirt collar. Day 9: Searching the Catacombs for Answers The creature pursuing Lucian did not follow. The party advanced into the labyrinth, taking turn after turn as Lucian rambled on an on about his fight with the inky abomination and information he did manage to gather. All curious as to why the being did not follow them below. A ward? Maybe it lost interest? Who knows, but what we do know is… OH WOW LOOK AT THAT. THIS WALL IS MADE ENTIRELY OF SKULLS. HOW INCREDIBLE ! Day 10: Something Sinister Awakens Due to Lucian’s, insisting that they follow the skull walls, the party makes their way deeper into the labyrinth. They walk until the narrow halls open into a grand chamber, and the skulls lining the walls now litter the floor in vast piles. That’s, a lot a death. As the group draws close, a deep rumble shifts the bones and a great dragon bursts forth. “WHO DARES WAKETH ME FROM MY SWEET SLUMBER?” Day 11: CURSED “The scholar already bears the pestilent curse of the old ones that plague the surface of this city. A suitable host, wouldn’t you say?” The Great Undead Wyrm loomed its giant head down toward Lucian, threateningly close, eyeing the arm that’s failed to stop bleeding since the wound was opened. Running red and now, that inky black. “Boy, It didn’t follow you because it didn’t have to” Day 12: Party Conflict Before the dragon could say any more, the party was on Lucian in a flash. Elijah seizing his arm and revealing the ungodly sight of three familiar, glowing eyes sprouting on his inner arm. Verinen drew her dagger and brought it to the young scholar’s throat. “You insolent MADMAN. What in the seven hells did you touch THIS TIME?” “N-now now my lady, l-let’s not jump to conclusions, shall we?? I-it’s not the matter of what I touched, but, haha, what touched mee. I was unaware of this outcome, you must believe me. I would never lie to you, now, would i?” She was still clearly upset with him. This wasn’t the first time Lucian has gotten himself into trouble. At this point it’s to be expected but, he’s fresh out of strikes. “Maverick, check his arm, see if you can stop it from bleeding. And YOU… don’t MOVE” (im so glad I got a chance to draw more of my kids :3c From left to right we have Elijah Brantly, Fillin O’Malley, Maverick Djomb, Lotion, and my dear old lady Verinen Crow.) Day 13: Costly Repercussions The parties’ coined “healer”, Maverick set to work trying to patch up Lucian’s arm. He’d never seen anything quite like this before in his time as an alchemist, and examined the wound and the eyes with a curious zeal. Maverick had a question swimming around in the back of his head, a “what if”. And mute as he was, the alchemist had developed a terrible habit of just, doing instead of asking. As he was finishing up bandaging the rest of Lucian’s wounds, Maverick drew one of his own daggers and thrust it into the largest eye on Lucian’s forearm, expecting it to disappear or something of this like. Instead the whole party jumped as the young scholar let out a horrible scream of pain, lurching away from Maverick and clutching desperately at his own face with his hand. Day14: A Laugh From the Dark / A Proposal The Dragon watched on, amused at such mortal emotion displayed before him. (aka, Lucian writhing around in agony on the floor while Verinen scolded Maverick) “MY EYES MY EYESS” “Hush now it was only the one.” “AAAAAAAAAA” “Eh heh heh heh, it has been millennia since the folly of man has entertained me so. No mere blade can cure the blood that now taints his veins. If left he will be all but consumed by it.” Fillin, the smallest of the group, turned to the dragon, worry in his eyes. Though used to Lucian getting himself into these situations by his own means, Fillin still considered him a close friend. “Please, dragon, isn’t there anything we can do?” “Hmmm, to do so would mean to rid this world of the one who caused it. I can direct you through the tunnels if that is what you seek. It would do me a mighty service if you got rid of those dreadful things. Their energy has been giving me a bone splitting headache.” Day 15: Big Baddie in the Spotlight After the party managed to patch up and calm down our intrepid scholar, the dragon directed them through the rest of the catacombs, leading then to the center of the city, the epicenter if this whole calamity. And who else do they find? None other than the hooded figure from day 2, waiting for them with arms outstretched in welcome. “blah blah how kind of you to deliver my new vessel to me. Certainly saved me the trouble if dealing with that dreadful dragon. I never would have seen it coming, but thanks to you, I did !~” (Insert evil monologue here) Day 16: You Roll a Natural 1 Have you ever seen an entire party fail a grapple check? Well, now you have~ Almost too easy~ “It has be a while, hasn’t it Lucian? My, my how you’ve grown. You look just like your mother. And just as brilliant a mind, if not more. But wasted in such a mortal coil. Worry not my boy, the Blood laces your veins and eyes your soul. Soon we shall put them to better use~” Day 17: Confrontation From the perspective of the big baddie who, failed to keep a hold on his now, very angry prize. Day 18: You Roll a Natural 20 Bold of you to assume I would agree to be your puppet. Is that it? After all these years you think I was going to take that lightly?! You LEFT US. You left HER. Oh, and this was your goal all along. To break the sky and let the old ones through? Ahh, but you never accounted for this. The thing you were missing? My will, was it? Well, think again, old man” Day 19: Victory PoseThere are some conflicting feelings happening during this “Victory” pose. With his father, the source of the ritual, lying dead beneath Lucian’s blade, the crack in the sky begins to close and the creatures flee back into it (yet the eyes still linger). The party takes out the last of the straggling abominations and turns to gather around our intrepid scholar. They congratulate him on a job well done, unaware of how personal this fight had become for him. Lucian stared at the body in front of him. Isn’t this what he wanted? Then why does he feel sick to his stomach. (I wanted to show Lucians victory with him in a state of shock. He looks so broken and out of character. And, so much younger even though the facial structure stayed the same. He’s vulnerable. His guard is down, and his will… well.. We will see how the story plays out… wont we? ) Day 20: Back to Normality Back to normality, you say? Ah well the crack sealed, leaving but a scar in the sky. And the dragon beneath the city disappeared without a trace. Our party returned as heroes to their guild. Well deserving of a very long rest. Days passed and they resumed business as usual. Verinen keeping sharp, Elijah and Fillin goofing off and, well, Maverick continuing to just be one rather creepy dude in a mask. (no one really knows what he does in his spare time). Lucian took back to his studies, the comfort he found in the library helped ease the trouble in his mind and the aches in his body. He’d give himself this time to settle before writing his report for the guild. However the more he recalled the past events, the more his bandaged arm throbbed in memory. “How unpleasant. But it shall heal in time” Day 21: Movie Poster!! Only one solution… Solution? So-Lucian? … *cough* IT’S A PUN, GET IT? “Starring Nicolas Cage as: Himself” A very sketchy bonus post credit scene! A week or so later, Lucian is caught up in his study. His bandaged arm has been aching him for a few days. The bandages are due to come off tomorrow… but what’s the harm in checking now? Maybe the bandages are just cutting off circulation… …! The END????