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Stormbringer: Elric of Melniboné

4 Dec

Elric, albino prince of ruins, last emperor of the Elder Kingdom of Melniboné, sorcerer, summoner, outcast, wanderer, drug addict and anti-hero, is one of heroic fantasy’s best known and enduring characters. An iconic figure, Elric is distinguished by his albinism and his inhuman, Melnibonéan heritage, both of which serve to make him an outcast in the age of the Younger Kingdoms (a sort of prehistoric alternate Earth). Despite this, Elric is a flawed and very human hero, wracked by guilt over his people’s bloody history and his own vices. Melnibonéans do not consider themselves to be human (they are elf-like, quasi-immortals who dabble in sorcery and worship demons) and as such they have treated the other nations of the world which they have ruled for millenia with great cruelty. Uniquely among his race, Elric possesses something of conscience, and finds it hard to accept many of the traditions which he has been born into – in particular wielding the sentient blade Stormbringer, which drinks the souls of those whom it is used to slay, transferring their vitality to its bearer instead. Due to his frail albino constitution, Elric is particularly vulnerable to the lure of the black sword, for without it he must rely on a cocktail of herbs and drugs to keep him going. This constant struggle and the colourful setting of the Younger Kingdoms provides a fascinating backdrop to Elric’s unusual adventures.

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