This picture, created by the artist Alex Claw, was inspired by one of my short stories – Monolith.
In it, a group of warriors have to go into the caverns where a nest of gleaners have made their home. These vicious monsters have been raiding settlements in the area, killing humans but also dragging them below to feed on them over time. The warriors have one aim – kill the queen, destroy her eggs, end the line.
The title Monolith comes from the character of Magnus, better known to others as Monolith for his huge stature and ability to endure the Baltic cold. Only with him leading them do the warriors dare invade the gleaner home.
Gleaners are among the most vile monsters that I created in the world of Sojourners in Shadow. They are disfigured hybrids of human corpses and giant arachnids, born (in their current form) amidst wholesale slaughter and wild magic.
The gleaner in this picture is not a totally accurate depiction, I must admit. They have scythe-like blades on their arms, to cut and drag down. The stinger on the end of the tail is just that – an insectoid stinger to inject a powerful venom. Their humanish halves are more human-looking, with pale eyes, rotting flesh, etc.
However, I love the menace this has. The nature of the gleaner is captured perfectly. It looks like an abomination, which gleaners are, even to other monsters. The blades and stinger promise a brutal death.
It also seems to be rising out of the shadows on the human warriors, which is accurate to the story itself.
This was meant to be the cover of Sojourners in Shadow Part Two. Unfortunately, that seems to be highly unlikely to come about, if not a definite dead-end. So I bought the art from Alex myself. He deserved his payment and I just loved seeing something from my world brought to life.
Never thought it would be a gleaner though!