Until their crops failed. No matter what they tried the food would not grow. Becoming desperate, The Beornen began to believe that they had angered their God and that they must try to appease it. The priest declared that in order to bring new life to the earth they would need a human sacrifice. Ultimately the clan constructed and burned a large wicker man - Built half in the vision of man staring to the heavens, and half in the image of their worshipped god looking down upon them. The victim chosen for this sacrifice was a young girl, willing to give her life to save the others. Many of the ashes from the wicker man were blown towards the forest and those that remained were collected up and used to fertilise the earth for the next harvest. The Beornen began to celebrate the new life that would bloom, however the life never came.
The next harvest failed, and the one after that. Every time, the panicking Beornen would construct a new wicker man and burn more sacrifices, and as the years went by fewer of them were willing. The Beornen almost fell into a mania, desperately sacrificing more of their own in an attempt to save their harvest, and each time they failed the cycle would continue. They would sacrifice anyone they could: the hungry, the sick, the healthy, the young and the old. Some of them hypothesised that the power residing in their holy ground was not a God, but a demon that was corrupting their thoughts - they were immolated for their blasphemy.
Within three hundred years, The Beornen were all gone. Those who had not been sacrificed in vain or driven mad by the powerful force had all starved to death. Centuries later and all trace of their existence had vanished from Alton Island, their primitive buildings had rotted away or been buried and their culture had been lost to time. While nobody has yet realised it, the disappearance of The Beornen did impact on the rest of the residents of the island, in that ever since they all grew up with an irrational fear of the eastern plains. Even during the 20th Century, those living in the city of Oasis could not bring themselves to venture into the plains and they could not quite explain why…
The Beornen’s impact on the island did end up being greater than anyone could’ve imagined. The ashes from their sacrifices were all blown into the dense woodland to the west of the plains. With the spirits of those sacrificed all gathered in one area the woodland ultimately attracted more and more spirits, eventually becoming known as a realm teeming with the souls of the deceased. The Beornen spirits ended up grouping together and becoming a single entity, the supernatural influences they brought upon the woodland helping it to gain some form of sentience. For many years it roamed the region as a collective tormented spirit, occasionally lashing out and inflicting damage upon the woods and anything within it, but by and large it spent its time residing in a dead tree, hiding from the world. Eventually the tree was cut down and with nothing to contain it the entity began rampaging through the woods, unable to control or comprehend its power…"
</span>At last. The time has come to reunite with the Earth and feed the flames...
It's now been a week since I first rode Alton Towers' latest roller coaster and that meant I was able to begin work on more art. With the retirement of my Macbook Pro, this is the first image I've uploaded made from my new iMac and the first to be done in Photoshop. It'll take a lot of getting used to.
I came up with the concept for this character when the rumours of the name began floating around. With no concrete knowledge of what the backstory might've been I ended up blending in references to the 1973 film of the same name, which in a way is still referred to during the ride despite them not being connected (no spoilers). The idea that it would be an amalgamation of the various sacrifices came from how the ride was at one point classified as a Gloomy Wood attraction, thus it would be some sort of spirit.
The Entity is a being that knows only pain and suffering. It can no longer feel said pain, but it's all it remembers...
Alton Island © Matt Lindsay
Thanks to Cobra-Roll for help with creating the character.</p>