Yaniel, by Ekaterina Burmak

yaniel1Yaniel, by Kate Burmak

Kate Burmak is another amazing artist who has become one of my heroines in the fantasy art world. I particularly love her work for Paizo’s Pathfinder series. As well as great heroines, Kate offers a stellar selection of demons, monsters, battles, deities, and landscapes for the fantasy nerd in all of us. I’ve used Kate’s awesome work in the past and keep an eye on her galleries for future writeups.

The paladin Yaniel is a seriously badass figure from Pathfinder lore and I absolutely love Kate’s depiction of her here. According to the lore, Yani was a demon-hunting crusader who, after conflicts with her order’s hierarchy, ventured into the demon-infested Worldwound to rage a one-woman war against the hellish hordes. After two years she returned from the ‘Wound after rescuing another party of crusaders. Though Yaniel perished on her subsequent crusade against the demons, her sword, Radiance, remains an artifact in the game with special powers for paladin characters who wield it.

yaniel2I love how beat-to-hell Yani’s armor looks in Kate’s portrait. Clearly our heroine has found herself in an epic scrum against the demon hordes, and their teeth and claws have taken a toll on her armor. But even with scratches and dents and broken straps, our paladin’s armor should keep her joints protected and her insides inside. Though currently damaged and discarded, Yaniel’s helm kept her skull from suffering the same fate. A steel gorget protects her neck from decapitating or paralyzing swings while spaulders protect her shoulders from disabling blows. A steel cuirass serves as her outermost layer of torso protection, while a chain shirt goes underneath to provide further insulation. Underneath she wears a padded gambeson for a third layer of torso protection and as deflection from arrows and light melee attacks to her legs.

Yan keeps her arms protected with steel vambraces over leather gloves. Similarly, her lower legs are protected by durable leather traveling boots with steel greaves. Her rugged traveling pants should hold up effectively when wandering the Worldwound or rooting out demon-infested caverns. Lastly, Yaniel’s only visible weapon is her great sword, Radiance. According to the lore, Radiance is a magic sword made from cold iron for increased damage against the demon hordes.

I think a lot of artists, writers, movie makers, etc tend to forget that armor gets increasingly battered and worn over the course of a battle, campaign, or dungeon crawl. Thus I think it’s an important point that being rescued by a ‘knight in shining armor’ means being rescued by a really lazy knight. The state of Yaniel’s armor is a testament to how hard she’s fought and how much she can take. I mean, her cuirass is being held together by her belt and her left spaulder and right greave are barely hanging on. I think the only thing missing from this pic is a background of slain demon-spawn littering the landscape.

Massive thanks to Kate for the use of her awesome Paladin. Be sure to check out her other works in her digital gallery and live journal as well. As always, thanks so much for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!

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