I spent weeks pondering what to offer as my Curtgeld for this year's challenge. I was initially tempted by Dirty Harry or others from Kev White's excellent Hasslefree range. But nothing quite appealed. Those of you who followed last year's challenge will know that Curt and I share a love of Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont's Malazan Books of the Fallen (MBotF), and epic series of fantasy books. Might these offer inspiration for suitable Curtgeld?
The MBoTF have an extensive list of Dramatis Personae, with many more antiheroes than true heroes. After lengthy consideration and searching for suitable models, I settled just a couple of weeks ago on Ben Adaephon Delat, better known as 'Quick Ben'.
When we first encounter him, Quick is a Squad Mage in the 9th squad of the infamous Bridgeburners, the grognards of Empress Laseen's Malazan Empire. Squad mages are petty magic users rather than the powerful members of the High Mage cadre, being capable of mere illusions and deceptions to aid their squad mates. Hailing from the Seven Cities continent, he is described as dark skinned, tall and lean. Erikson doesn't go in for much more description of characters than that, so I had some flexibility in choosing a suitable miniature!
Except Quick Ben isn't all that he seems, which becomes clear as the series progresses. He seems to know the most about what's going on, vanishes off on unspecified errands, turning up again at all critical junctures, usually with a solution to some problem or other and vague hints of what the heck is going on. It transpires that he was previously a High Priest of Rashan, or Darkness, before burning his vestments and adopting the warren of Meneas or Shadow as the source of his power. But that's just the start of it - there are plenty more reveals as the story progresses when Quick is concerned.
So why an Antihero? Well, the Bridgeburners are pretty heroic, particularly the noble but naive Ganoes Paran and the roundly respected Whiskeyjack. But there's a darker side to both Adaephon Ben Delat and Kalam Mekhar, the bearlike ex-Claw assassin and Quick's closest partner. To avoid spoilers I'll just reference the events of the pursuit across Raraku, the Holy Desert, and Quick's support for Kalam's mission regarding the Empress in Deadhouse Gates (my personal favourite of the series, by quite some way).
This miniature, 'Karick-Dar, Apprentice' is from Australia-based Guild of Harmony miniatures.
He's a bit shiny and needs a burst of Dullcote, which I'll sort before he goes into the post.
I desperately searched for a suitable Kalam Mekhar to go with him. Alas, I came up short - sorry Curt! Still, I hope you like him.