I’ve been meaning to draw this character for a long time. The last time I drew her was probably in 1999. I’ve had at least one request to draw her since the story she appeared in was written, and it’s taken me years to finally feel motivated enough to do it.
It’s Amaranth, a character I created for my first full-length King’s Quest fan fiction, which never got a title more elaborate than "Valanice", the name of the official character which the story focuses on. Amaranth is an outcast who says very strange things and has some knowledge of magic, yet Valanice tolerates her. The two of them (along with a third girl) grow up together, and when Valanice is taken from her home to be imprisoned in the crystal tower, Amaranth tries to save her and fails.
I’ve often wondered whether Amaranth had any Mary Sueish qualities, being an early original character that ends up being the protagonist’s friend and all…but then I realized that Amaranth can’t be a Mary Sue…she has pimples! And blemishes! And tangled hair and callused hands! And she doesn’t heroically save the main character, she screws up and dies…
…or does she? I honestly didn’t know this when I named her, but amaranth* is the only flower associated with immortality…in fact, the reader and Valanice never know what happens to her.
When I was jotting down a synopsis for a version of "Valanice" that didn’t contradict the backstory of "The Forgotten Captives", I suddenly had this incredible flash of inspiration about a crow, a magpie or some other corvid that begins visiting members of Valanice’s family whenever great misfortune befalls them, acting curiously tame and affectionate, yet everyone tends to ignore the bird, since crows and magpies are often seen as omens of bad luck…with her magical powers, I even thought that she could be Philomel’s daughter, which would make the bird theme even more fitting.
I tried out a few new techniques with this picture, like coloring sections of the Multiply layer that the sketch was on and making the shadows lavender to match the flowers. Amaranth turned out a bit more elfish than I wanted, though…I was going for witchy, not elfish! Her nose is so much pointier than the way it looks here…
*that's what the flowers behind Amaranth are,of course.