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  1. #1

    An Introduction to Darker Shades of Christmas... Contest Talk Topic

    Our story begins in ancient times when men worshiped a multitude of gods and the world could be less than forgiving. Into this world came a comet which men would look upon with dread as it disappeared into the frozen Arctic north where it would crash with a thundrous roar. Awakening within the frozen waters of what was now a melted crater, a man of enormous girth would pull himself to the ice and make his way upwards until standing almost a mile above upon it's ledge. Clinching his fist, the man possessed no memory of his past other than basic instincts he would need for his survival. Holding forth his hand, a powerful battle-ax would arise from the depths until held firmly in his grasp. As he looked to the skies, he would see the Northern Lights moving across the heavens much as if it were a roadway which beckoned him to follow.

    Following the Northern Lights, he would come upon a place where they touched the Earth and be drawn within. Thus would begin a series of events through which he would traverse a darkened world rescuing those endangered by beings of purest evil. He would carve from this darkened world a place of eternal light where even the nighttime sky would be lit by a bright moon. During these years, he would seek out the mystery of his own past and discovered a means to manipulate the Northern Lights to let him view the Earth. It was while he was searching this world that he developed an affinity for it's peoples and a desire to explore this world personally. As his understanding of magick grew and those who stood with him revealed secrets known to them, the mighty war god would find a way to make this happen.


    While he might sometimes be drawn to battle, the warrior god was more interested in wandering to learn the customs and ways of its peoples. He might wander in upon a family during a howling blizzard to provide them wood for fires, food for their table and even care for their animals when conditions were too dangerous for man or beast. At times, he explored their customs of religion and the ways of the wealthy because he could not understand why those with so much did so little to help the less fortunate. Many names would be given to this man beginning with an association with a man whose faithful believed he had been sacrificed for their sins. Names like Father Christmas were meant to honor this mighty figure who would change his appearance to suit the perceptions of these mortal beings.

    It was as Father Christmas that he began delivering presents to as many as he could and became particularly known for delivering handcrafted toys for the littlest among them. He would learn the wages of human sin as he had never wanted any to worship him or to wish for his arrival to provide for them what they might provide for themselves with effort. For this reason, he would teach those he came upon to provide for themselves and to celebrate their fellow man with good deeds in his name rather than to honor him. Such would prove a practical measure as well because he could not be everywhere at all times. Humans seemed to have it within their nature to worship unseen deities hoping to have their needs provided for and he had no need or want for this.


    The passage of time finds the warrior going by another name as men began to call him Santa Claus. Some among them made him more human by personalizing a human identity for him as Christopher Kringle. As Santa Claus, he would even assume a smaller form more like the jolly old elf they now imagined him to be and which he often found great happiness in presenting himself as being. But, for all his magick and power, there was also great sadness in his life. To address his loneliness for a wife, he had taken mortal women as his brides and it was their mortality which brought him suffering... as mortals die while he himself seemed to be immortal. Only once would he take an immortal to his side, an elven bride who used magick to merge herself with one of his wives upon her death with Santa sitting at her side.

    This would not please him as it was as if the body of his wife had been stolen from him and the spirit which now possessed it he had not loved. She could sense the godhood within him and they would spend time together in which she would birth several children blessed with immortality for him. But time and rejection would lead him to seek another and his marriage would be ended when his wife departed from his side to seek a new life without him. The human world had changed much over the centuries and he was beginning to lose faith in humanity. For all their advances, they were yet possessed by the vices which he had found among the worst of them when he had first learned of their existence.


    When word came to him that his beloved wife Clara was dying, Santa would find his faith shaken and his heart broken. Upon her death, he retreated into his chambers where he rarely emerged and darkness fell upon Christmasland. It was through his sheer force of will that his kingdom survived in the light and without his strength, fear overcame the lands. Sensing her fathers despair, his elven daughter Candace became determined that her fathers legacy must continue. If humans wanted to buy their presents, then she would use her fathers treasure room to buy toy manufacturers around the world and create Christmastime Unlimited.

    Being the rebel of the family, Candace was able to see that the commercialization of Christmas need not be a bad thing. The profits from Christmastime Unlimited could be used to do good works all year long and the spirit of Christmas need not die even if it was time to evolve. Unlike her father, Candace believed in second chances for even the darkest of hearts and it was for this reason that she would invite other supernatural creatures to join with her. She had even been preparing to help her father as for all the grief she caused her old man, she dearly loved him and was not about to watch his dream die.


    The first Christmas under her watch would actually be a month long event as she was not yet as adept with the pixie dust as her father giving her his ability to do everything in a single night. Any who might see those helping her might be equally confused as rock trolls might deliver presents by crashing through a wall while sugarplum faeries kept the family asleep and gremlins repair the damage. But, she would get all the presents delivered to the children on her fathers list and end Christmas night at her fathers knee looking into his tear filled eyes.

    For the first time in months, Santa would smile at his daughter and thank her for forgiving a silly old man too lost in sorrow to remember what was important to him. When he emerged from his sanctum, Santa would address those gathered before him to thank them for what they had done. He would give praise to Candace for her efforts and announce that it was time for him to retire now that Christmas was in her hands. Santa would then begin a new life acting more like a billionaire playboy at the beach than a jolly old elf and would visit various pubs around the world drinking kegs of alcohol with "the boys" until passing out drunk on his face.


    Another daughter named Christine was placed in charge of keeping Santa out of trouble and following after him to bring him home when she was needed. No one tried to stop Santa from doing what he wanted as long as he was happy and he would even, from time to time, attend board meetings for Christmastime Unlimited where he was greeted as Chairman Emiritus. He was now free to pursue another quest that he had long abandoned as there was still his forgotten past to deal with. From these new journeys, he would regain his memories of being the chief god of a pantheon which had fallen to their enemies. He himself had been flung to the stars by a monstrous beast and it was this event which brought him to Earth.

    Santa would eventually encounter some of the gods who had escaped his panthons destruction and this, in turn, would lead him to rekindle an ancient love with the goddess who had been his queen. Together, they would return to the world of Christmasland and found a new home on Christmas Mountain. With her help, other gods would be found and given invitations to join with them. As they arrived, each would be welcomed and given a place custom built for each as they were the beginning for the birth of what would become known as the Gods of Christmas.

    The first Darker Shades of Christmas happened 15 years ago over on Renderosity. The initial inspiration for the contest was Tim Burtons "A Nightmare Before Christmas" where we wanted to take the concept in our own direction and focus on the myths and merriment that have connections to Christmas. This was one year before the founding of Dreamslayer artworks and it sowed the seeds for creating our site. Artwork from numerous artists have contributed to this competition. Over the years, we've tried to retain a theme for Darker Shades where a barbarian god and his impish daughter Candace fight the good fight trying to preserve the spirit of Christmas.

    Over the years, we've invented various villains to go against them such as Maxwell Scrooge, Krampus, the Candyman and a powerful sorceress known as Dark Magick. But, the contest takes place in a world where Christmas is still happening and any art submitted for the competition need only have a Christmas theme. This allows for our members to enter traditional Christmas artwork, toons and pretty much anything Christmas related. It's meant to be a fun experience and whether it's elves, angels, trolls or a snowy scene on a midwinter night... we only ask that you have fun and enjoy yourself.

    So, if you have questions or just want to make general conversation about the contest, here's where you do it.

    Thank You

  2. #2
    I did this to one of my old images using the Filter Forge 7 Tron 2.0 filter. Check out our contest to learn more about getting a copy of this prize and visit their site to see how you can get 75% off and a trial copy of their newly released Filter Forge 7 fully functional for 30 days (long enough to use in this competition hint hint)

  3. #3
    Tis the season to be HAPPY lol

  4. #4
    Someone forgot to post yesterdays prize announcement lol.

    How was your Christmas ?


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