The Necromancers: Tarot (Part I)

The Necromancers: Lorcis Layeras, The Magician is the first of a series of digital portraits of four necromancers who were first created by my sister and I as customized characters in the MMO Guild Wars in 2005. Since then, these four characters have been recreated in almost all the video games we’ve played that allowed us to create and customize our own characters: Champions Online, Dark Souls, Dynasty Warriors, Rift, Soul Caliber, Saints Row, Skyrim, and The Sims just to name a few games. Remaking the same characters into different games has allowed our creative minds to develop personalities and backstories for our necromancers, and we talk about them as if they were our best friends. By painting our necromancers, I can combine nearly a decade of character development into unique individual portraits. They will finally exist outside of a video game and be truly ours.

I chose to paint their portraits in the style of Tarot cards because the necromancers are magical occultists, and I enjoyed the way I could twist the original meanings of the cards to fit them. Since the cards have so much symbolism in their illustrations, I felt I could combine character-significant objects with the necromancers to give their portraits more of a story/individual personality.

The first Major Arcana card in the Tarot deck is The Magician. Knowledge, infinity, enlightenment, and the ego are some of the themes represented by this card. Though Lorcis practices necromancy, his main area of study is demonology. As The Magician, he lives by the mantra, “Knowledge is power,” and to him, forbidden knowledge is the ultimate power. He respects demons and summons them with reverence for discourse on their particular realm of knowledge. His ambition is to gain immortality through enlightenment.

In his portrait, Lorcis holds up a ritual knife that he used to slit his wrist as part of a summoning ritual. The candles glow with a mystical green flame (“evil green” being Lorcis’ favorite color, aside from black). A waterfall of poisonous flowers, aconitum and helleborus, represent the toxic element of his offensive spells in some video games. Lorcis and the demon behind him look confidently and somewhat suggestively at the viewer, representing the seductive power of dark magic. The black inverted pentagram in the background anchors Lorcis and the demon together and represents Lorcis’ wishful hope that he might have some demonic heritage in him.