Zephyr’s Tomb, by William O’Connor

zephyrZephyr’s Tomb, by William O’Connor

“When soldiers enter into battle with the gods’ gift of greater morale, their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them.” —Xenophon

I found this elf paladin by William O’Connor through my Tumblr a few weeks ago, and I liked her armor well enough that I had to give her a blog post. I wasn’t able to learn what the image is for, however. If it’s for a game or a Magic: the Gathering card or a D&D sourcebook or a commission for a patron, I don’t know. Admittedly, that our elf here is a paladin is speculative on my part, though the white cloak, polished armor, and holy sword lend themselves to the paladin archetype. Plus the bronze piece at her collar looks like it might be a holy symbol. (If anyone can offer more info, please feel free to do so in the comments, thanks!)

I’ve always kind of enjoyed building and experimenting with paladin characters in various computer role-playing games. On top of the whole white-knight, holy-champion archetype, I find it interesting to play around with their character builds. And while I’ve tinkered with spear, claymore, axe-and-shield, bare-handed, quarterstaff, and even bow-and-arrow paladin builds, a dual-wielding paladin is one I’ve never tried.

I find the heavy armor to be an interesting attire for a dual-wield fighter, as typically two-weapon characters tend to prefer a lighter armor for improved dexterity. Elves in general tend to prefer light armor (I suspect because it lets them run away more effectively), and thus our paladin’s heavy armor comes across as a welcome contrast to the leaf-themed leather armor and plate mail with delicate embellishments and protrusions worn by so many elvish warriors in medieval fantasy. Plus, elves in general seem to have to wear the most oft sexualized armor throughout fantasy.

To me it’s important to notzephyr2e that our elf’s armor contains multiple layers of diverse materials. Her lowest visible layer appears to be a heavy chain shirt for the torso (for protection against slashing and cushioning against bludgeoning) and leather or wool pants for her leggings. Above the chain mail she wears a leather shirt or jerkin with plated mail strapped to her chest. Her arms feature riveted plates and heavy gauntlets, while her legs are protected in the front by strapped on plates and grieves. I like that her elbows, shoulders, and knees are well protected from crippling or incapacitating blows to the joints. The vertical protrusions on her shoulder pauldrons offer the additional benefit of protecting her neck from potential decapitations. Her hips are similarly cushioned by a waist-cloak of chain mail.

All in all, I feel like our artist is one who actually has a working familiarity with how armor can and does work and what needs to be protected and how. I’ve seen a lot of fantasy armor by artists who apparently don’t.

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2 Responses to Zephyr’s Tomb, by William O’Connor

  1. Brett M. says:

    This art was something I was always curious about ever since I received a magic: the gathering playmat that features it in a trade. The mat was most likely given as a prize during a TCGPlayer event if I’m not mistaken. Here’s a link to a picture of the mat that I took myself.

    • I’ll be darned. I don’t remember where I found the image originally, but I was never able to contact the artist to find out more about it. Thanks for letting me know!

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