Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Legion: development and symbolism

Photo, concept, manipulation, styling, make up, frame design: GothicNarcissus
Model, hair: Kiyubi
The Legionnaires (from left): Ayl Rose (Beherie), Jillian (Verrine), Deborah Luna (Madeste), GothicNarcissus (Isacaron and Amand), Picci (Easas), Daelithia (Naphtalim), Giulia (Gressil), Mana (Sonneillon)
Additional resources: Amptone-stock (textures), ShadowedDancer (wings)

Truth be told, despite liking mythology since I was a child, I had never read the whole Bible until recently. Thus, I first found out about Legion just recently, when a friend of mine played a character possessed by him on an online RPG.
Legion is pretty much the only Demon explicitly named in the New Testament (in two of the official Gospels, although his episode is told in three), and he’s even given some lines of speech. We find him bumping into Jesus Christ while possessing a man (and it’s kind of funny to see that while Legion is very polite, Jesus is rude to no end), and being exorcized and sent into a flock of pigs (sort of willingly). But apart from that, no further information is provided, so I had to come up with a background story on which to base a possible physical appearance for him. To have him graphically rendered, he had to have a body of his own, yet I wanted to keep his multiple-spirit essence.
Jesus casts out Legion as engraved by Gustave Doré.
The best idea that crossed my mind (during my boring economy class, as you can see from the notes) was to have him originated from a single Fallen Angel who engulfed others’ spirits and powers, with him serving as a physical body of a Demon who can split into the many spirits (that are normally symbiotic), and portraying him/them while they were dividing, literally coming out of a body that slowly fades until the next reunion. When I sketched it (badly, I’m awful at drawing), I liked the visual outcome and eventually remade it into the photomanipulation almost the very same way. The only exception are the wings, which were supposed to look like regular angel wings until I found the stock I used.
A badly drawn Legion draft
A badly drawn Legion draft.
I found the fitting model quite randomly, as Daelithia, who I knew only as a friend of Ayl’s back then, suggested that I shoot her boyfriend Kiyubi for the project. We arranged the photoshoot in late January 2010, took the photo quite smoothly, and most of the photomanipulation was done that same night. The toughest part were the Legionnaires: I didn’t want to do them the easy way using other people’s stock (I’m very stubborn when it comes to the material for the Infernal Lords), so it took me over two months to complete the work with enough photos of other people. Another problem was the rendition of the spirits, as I had no clue of how to make them look evanescent. My dear friend LunarShore helped me with some precious advice and I eventually got an acceptable result. I came back and reworked them a few years later, when my skills had grown, and finally obtained the result I truly wanted.
Obviously, only a part of the Legion is shown, while the other spirits still compose the physical body. They’re coming from the Seal, which is normally placed on his thigh, but is the first to detach in the split process, giving the demons a getaway from the body. As Legion is not a Goetic Demon, I had to borrow the Seal from another, and chose Paimon because his Seal looks like a group of humanoid figures. I decided that Legion’s wings had to be energy-made and multiple due to the power of the many entities. The names of the spirits were taken from various accounts of possession and exorcism, namely Aix-en-Provence, Loudun and Antoine Gay’s. The theme-colour is midnight blue, as I wanted something dark, cold and somber. The song is Army Of Me by Björk and I think it doesn’t really need an explanation.

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