Stoic Decay

pictures / projects by gElm / Lem de Grosnpreg

Illustrations for Thieves' World

A Dangerous Plan

Cappen Varra at the altar of Aiala. → The Lady of the Winds by Poul Anderson

Illyra's Customer Flees

The woman turned while still under the canopy. Her shawl fell back to reveal a fair-skinned blond woman of a youthful and delicate beauty. → The Face of Chaos by Lynn Abbey

Jarveena Meets Enas Yorl

Abruptly it was as though the table shrank, and from an immense distance its farther end drew close and along with it a high-backed, throne-like chair in which sat a curious personage. → Sentences of Death by John Brunner

Hanse Infiltrates the Palace

Dark corridors led him to the appointed chamber… unexpectedly enjoying the royal couch in its owner's absence, was Lirain's sister concubine. → Shadowspawn by Andrew Offutt

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGE USED: The Convent Solovetskii, Kola Peninsula, Russia

Cappen Varra & Enas Yorl

His candle flickered. He glanced up and saw a beardless fat man in an ornate formal robe, scarcely normal dress for a visit to the Vulgar Unicorn. → The Gate of the Flying Knives by Poul Anderson


A stick pierced his mask, opening a gash in his forehead which began to drip blood in his eyes. → The Price of Doing Business by Robert Lynn Asprin


He deposits the mute staring man on the slab and selects a heavy cleaver. I'm sorry, Amar. I have to start with the feet. Otherwise it's a terrible mess. → Blood Brothers by Joe Haldeman

The villainous character with the cleaver is called One-Thumb. You'd think such an obvious defining feature - only having one thumb - would be at the top of my list as I attempted to capture the protagonist pictorially. But mediocrity is forgetful. When I originally finished this picture One-Thumb had two thumbs and I had to go back and do a digital amputation. The internet is kind to mediocrity.

In Aphrodisia House

The emerald day-robe billowed out from behind her as Myrtis ascended the staircase to the lower rooms and up again to her parlor. → Myrtis by Christine De Wees

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGE USED: Octoberagon House Interior

A Huge Burly Black-Bearded Man

Only then—when it was no longer needed—did Lythande see the blue star between the black bristling brows, the cat-yellow eyes of Rabben the Half-handed! → The Secret of the Blue Star by Marion Zimmer Bradley

Two Gigantic Animals

He waited a long time, the pipe now at his lips. Then, his cheeks swelled, and the dart shot out. The bear to the right, roaring even louder, grabbed at the missile stuck in its left eye. Smhee fitted another dart into the pipe and took a step closer. The monster on the left lunged against the restraining collar and chain. Smhee shot the second dart into its tongue. → Spiders of the Purple Mage by Philip Jose Farmer

Those are supposed to be bears. Also the dart is in the wrong eye. Weak draftsmanship and mistakes in adaptation are my calling cards.

The Sanctuary of Heqt

The Cirdonian sighed and turned to the right, stepping through the hangings of brass beads into the sanctuary of Heqt. The figure he expected was waiting for him. → Goddess by David Drake

A Ghastly Discovery

A weak shaft of light made its way through the jutting roofs of a half-dozen buildings to illuminate a pair of corpses. → The Fruit of Enlibar by Lynn Abbey

Berating an Infidelity

Inside the bedroom a god was yelling in a deep, baritone voice at the nude Amazon, who was still sitting on the edge of the bed. → The Dream of the Sorceress by A. E. Van Vogt

The Crowd

He rode down Wideway, and he rode past the docks. A ship was being made fast, and a crowd had gathered round it. → Vashanka's Minion by Janet Morris

A Fickle Trap

There was no fountain down here by the fish market, and the few lights were not bright. → Shadow's Pawn by Andrew J. Offutt

Kurd, the Experimenter

Stained disheveled dress of one who sleeps in his clothes, the unwashed, unkempt hair and beard, as well as the cadaverously thin body with its long skeletal fingers […] → To Guard the Guardians by Robert Lynn Asprin


More info on Thieves' World.