I found this while looking in some of my old illustration folders.
This is the study for an old project I never finished.
... all you are asked to do is to be unafraid
The first time I read the Nibelungenlied I found myself dragged into a reflection about loyalty and vulnerability.
My thought was that you can’t be truly loyal to someone without being truly vulnerable to that person, and that the heroes are precisely the ones who are strong in such openness. Dragon blood baths are only special effects around what really takes place there. Of course dragons are terribly dangerous, yet those dragons are not but magnificent beasts and they can only kill the hero, and maybe there are things worse than dying. What will really defeat the hero, what will break their heart open, will be quiet, subtle and fragile: a linden tree leaf.
I believe that the quality of being truly broken only by something so feeble is the real mark of the hero: the hero is only proven in the act of being broken. But this brokenness opens a new order of reality, inhabited by a deeper and much more incomprehensible hope.