Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Favoured Child

I’m not much of an artist. I can draw, but I don’t do it very much these days. Mostly it’s a time thing, but it’s also because it’s far more satisfying to write and have it come out the way I want, than to draw and have it come out only somewhat like I was thinking of. Which is why I’ve developed an addiction to commissioning people on deviantart, ha ha ha.

Now, I have a few different commissions on at the moment, but I felt inclined to talk about one today as I just got received the finished product in my inbox late last night. (You know, the other day I mentioned I’d finally caught up with the times and acquired a smartphone; in some ways I wish I hadn’t, as I spend too much time online as it is. Because when I received this file, it was well after midnight, I was supposed to be sleeping, and instead I was watching videos on youtube and reading my email, wtf.) This was a slightly unusual commission in that I was quite lucky to get it – the artist’s hard to reserve a slot with – and La'Vata O'Neal's style is quite realistic. Observe:

I was blown away. Completely. And somewhat terrified with it, too. ^_~ This is Doctor Viola Morgan, a little voice I’ve discussed on this journal before. She’s been in my head since I last lived in Christchurch; I’m not sure of her exact birthdate, but it was the middle of 2005. (If I bothered looking up the release date of Batman Begins in New Zealand I’d have a better idea, as I remember going to see it with my younger brother at the flicks and thinking of Morgan most of the way through, but go figure.) She’s been a very vocal presence there ever since, and while I’ve drawn her myself as well as having some other art commissioned, seeing her like this…


I think I’ve said before that one of my shallower reasons for wanting to be a popular published author is that I’d love to have a movie or a mini-series made of my work…just so I could look a character in the eye, or wander through Círa’s gallery or Radeen Dam’s oratory or the great library at Deseran. I’m a traveller, and as such I don’t just want to read things, I want to feel them. And the realistic tone of this portrait gives me a bit of that. This is what she’d look like if she was a person.

And like I said, it’s pretty damned scary. Here, have a tiny extract of Morgan from The Juniper Bones. Even though I’d love to meet Morgan for real, I think this explains why it’s also a very good thing that I never ever will. ^_~


“What are you doing here?”

He turns, startled; the only good thing about having Viola Morgan sneak up on him is the fact her hands are empty. “Your bloody husband won’t leave me alone,” he says, keeping a wary eye on the tall woman. Morgan may be without visible weapons, but he knows better than anyone else that Mr. Happy Scalpel is quite capable of concealing himself in very odd places about her person.

He isn’t detecting any discernible threat from her now, at least; she circles around him with an easy step that indicates her mood, if not good, is at least not bloody. “You’re such a sucker for coming back here,” she remarks finally, coming to a stop some ten feet to his left.

“So why are you here?” he asks, noting she now stands beneath one of the larger paintings of the western corridor. It’s a reproduction of a Dalí work he’s sure he’s seen before in Paris, or perhaps Madrid.

“Ah, but being a bitch doesn’t preclude me from being as much a sucker as you are,” she offers with a waggled finger, and turns her back on him. She is tracing that same lazy finger over the gilded frame of the painting when she adds: “You’re too damn interesting to just kick out of the house.”

“Is she here?”

Morgan looks back to him over one shoulder, the hard lines of her face carved from marble. He cannot decide if she resembles more the pale reclining woman in the painting at her back, or the two tigers arcing towards vulnerable flesh with claws unsheathed. “Yeah. Not that she lives here, or anything. Creepy little bitch that she is.”


“Don’t start with me, Eliot.” The words are as clipped as the individual shots from an automatic weapon, and he flinches when she comes forward to jab that calloused finger hard into the centre of his chest. “And I thought you’d be a few damn weeks later than this at the very least – thank god there’s no one to take bets with around here!”

“What about Dragovich?”

“Doesn’t do bets,” she explains moodily; she has fortunately retracted her clever surgeon’s fingers from his person, but he doesn’t feel any better for it. “God knows what I pay him for.”

“I think he asks himself the same thing every day.”

“Don’t start with me,” she repeats, and Eliot’s opening his mouth to suggest something potentially suicidal when she cuts him off with a slash of one strong wrist. “So you want to talk to Rowan, then?”

“Just get me Baedeker.”

She snorts, rolls her eyes like a mad horse. “What am I, your girl Friday?” Without waiting for an answer, she stalks out of the room; it is some fifteen minutes before Baedeker walks in with an air of vague bemusement that clears the moment he sees Eliot.

“Oh. I thought you were dead.”


The smile he gives Eliot is wry, with a touch of affection which Eliot doesn’t really want to contemplate. “Viola said she’d left me a cadaver in the foyer,” he explains, removing his reading glasses to squint critically at Eliot. “…she didn’t kill you, did she?”


…you have to cut Baedeker some slack, you know. Because with Morgan, you just never can tell. ^_~

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